September 23, 2021

Five more years added to life expectancy

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Life expectancy increased by 5 years between 2000 and 2015, the fastest increase since the 1960s. Those gains reverse declines during the 1990s, when life expectancy fell in Africa because of the AIDS epidemic, and in Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The increase was greatest in WHO’s African Region.

Global life expectancy for children born in 2015 was 71.4 years (73.8 years for females and 69.1 years for males), but an individual child’s outlook depends on where he or she is born. The report shows that newborns in 29 countries – all of them high-income — have an average life expectancy of 80 years or more, while newborns in 22 others – all of them in sub-Saharan Africa — have life expectancy of less than 60 years.

This year’s World Health Statistics brings together the most recent data on the health-related targets within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015.

The statistics show that many countries are still far from universal health coverage, especially in the African and eastern Mediterranean regions. A significant number of people who use health services face catastrophic health expenses (out-of-pocket health costs that exceed 25% of total household spending).

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