Estonians live longer

Life expectancy in Estonia has increased for both genders – and slightly more for males, the latest statistics shows.

According to Statistics Estonia, the country’s official statistics agency, in 2019, life expectancy at birth was 74.4 years for males and 82.8 years for females. Life expectancy in the country has increased for both genders – and slightly more for males. At the same time, men are expected to live disability-free for 54.1 and women for 57.6 years.

The number of healthy life years also increased compared with the year before and there was a positive change in rural areas in particular. “Compared with 2018, when the indicator of healthy life years dropped to the level seen a decade earlier, Estonian men and women lived healthier in 2019. Males live 72.7% of their life in good health and females 70%,” Ethel Maasing, the leading analyst at Statistics Estonia, said in a statement.

The data indicate that life expectancy has shown a growth trend for the past twenty years. Compared with a decade ago, male life expectancy has increased by three and a half years and female life expectancy by slightly more than two years.

“At that time, it was predicted that women would live almost 10 years longer than men, but by now, the gap has narrowed to eight and a half years. However, both men and women enjoy the same number of healthy life years as ten years earlier,” Maasing said.

Estonia still below the average in Europe

However, compared with the average life expectancy in Europe, Estonia is still lagging. According to the 2018 data, the average life expectancy for women in Europe was 83.6 years and for men 78.3 years. Female life expectancy was highest in Spain (86.3) and lowest in Serbia (78.4). Male life expectancy was highest in Switzerland (81.9) and lowest in Latvia (70.1).

Compared with the European Union average, the indicator for males in Estonia is lower by more than four years. Life expectancy for females in Estonia is about a year below the EU average.

The indicator of healthy life years for women was highest in Malta (73.4) and lowest in Latvia (53.7), and for men, it was highest in Sweden (73.7) and lowest in Latvia (51).

“Life expectancy depends on many factors, the most important of these being the environment, accessibility of healthcare services, safety at work, living standard and health consciousness. The shorter male life expectancy is not surprising as men are more prone to risk-taking and have a greater share of physically demanding jobs or those posing more risk to health. Among men, there are also more of those who have unhealthy lifestyles such as higher alcohol consumption and smoking,” Statistics Estonia said.

Cover: An Estonian family at the 2019 Song Celebration. Photo by Sven Zacek.

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