The life expectancy at birth decreased in Estonia by two years in 2021, compared with the previous year, the preliminary data of Eurostat, the European Union’s official statistics agency, show.
Life expectancy at birth has been increasing over the past decade in the EU, with official statistics revealing that life expectancy has risen, on average, by more than two years per decade since the 1960s.
“However, the latest available data suggest that life expectancy stalled or even declined in several EU member states,” Eurostat said.
“Some member states (mostly in Western Europe) saw their life expectancy rebound towards pre-COVID levels, while others (mostly in Eastern Europe) suffered the impact of the pandemic later and fully in 2021, therefore any rebound is yet to be reflected in the data.”
According to the preliminary 2021 data, the COVID-19 pandemic that started in 2020 has had a negative effect with life expectancy at birth declining in almost half the EU member states in 2021.
Only three EU countries show an increase
“The largest decreases have been estimated in Slovakia and Bulgaria (-2.2 years compared with 2020), followed by Latvia (-2.1) and Estonia (-2.0).”
In 2020, Estonians’ life expectancy at birth was 78.9 years, which means in 2021, it was 76.9. In 2019, the life expectancy of birth in Estonia was 79, in 2018 78.5 and in 2017 78.4.
Compared with the pre-pandemic year of 2019, the overall effect on life expectancies is still negative in all EU member states except Luxembourg (+0.1), Malta and Sweden (same level in 2019 and 2021).
In some cases, life expectancies have further worsened in 2021, leading to an estimated overall loss of more than two years. The largest decreases compared with 2019 were registered in Bulgaria (-3.7), Slovakia (-3.0), and Romania (-2.7), Eurostat said.