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Life expectancy increases across the globe

Published on 14 December 2012 11:30 AM

People around the world are living for up to a decade longer than they were in 1970, according to new research.

The study showed that average life expectancy among men has grown by 11.1 years, up from 56.4 years in 1970 to 67.5 in 2010, while the average woman in 2010 can expect to live to 73.3 years old, compared to 61.2 in 1970 - an increase of 12.1 years.


However, the life expectancy gulf between those older people living in more economically developed countries remains around 40 years higher than those living poorer nations, which is roughly the same rate as in 1970.

Women in Japan had the longest life expectancy in the world, with the average Japanese woman born today expected to reach the ripe old age of 85.9 years old.

Icelandic men were found to have the longest lifespans, with the typical boy born in Iceland during 2010 tipped to reach his 80th birthday.

Women in the Maldives experienced the biggest increase in longevity since 1970, with the average female life expectancy growing by 57.6% and the typical age of death among Maldivian women climbing from 51 years old to 80.4 in the 40 years to 2010.

A similar trend was reported among males born on the island, with the average male life expectancy rising by 54.4% over the same period, while other rapid gains in life expectancy were reported in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Iran and Peru.

Life expectancy declining in sub-Saharan Africa

The lifespan study, which can be found in the Lancet medical journal, showed that sub-Saharan Africans experienced a downward curve in life expectancy, with males living for an average of 1.3 years less and female lifespans declining by a year.

The average male in the Central African Republic could only expect to live 43.6 years, while the average life expectancy of boys born in Lesotho during 2010 was only marginally better at 44.

This trend of declining average life expectancy in Sub-Saharan Africa is largely due to severity of the HIV/AIDS crisis.

A devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010 was almost entirely responsible for lowering the country's average life expectancy of both men (32.5 years) and women (43.6 years).

The Global Burden of Disease Study also claimed that more older people around the world are living with chronic diseases and disabilities, with factors such as mental disorders, substance abuse and musculoskeletal problems all representing a shift from premature deaths to longer lives affected by disability.

Copyright Press Association 2012

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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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