How Long Can You Expect To Live?

16 Jul 2020 | 12.51 pm

How Long Can You Expect To Live?

Depends when you were born, says CSO

16 Jul 2020 | 12.51 pm

The greatest increase in life expectancy for Irish people in the past 90 years occurred between 1941 and 1961, with 9.1 years added for men and 10.9 years for women. 

That’s one feature of the Central Statistics Office report on age trends for 2015 to 2017, which shows that male life expectancy at birth rose 22.2 years over the 90-year period from 1926 to 2016, to 79.6 years, while female life expectancy increased to 83.4 years, an increase of 25.5 years, or 44.0%, from 1926 when life expectancy was 57.9 years.

Female life expectancy has always been higher, but the gap has been narrowing in recent times, the report says — in 1991 it was 5.6 years but shrank to 3.8 in 2016.

Statistician Carol Anne Hennessy said: “While life expectancy increased across all regions for both males and females since 2011, males in the Mid-East region had the highest life expectancy at 80.3 years. Females in the West region had the highest life expectancy at 84.5 years in 2016, a rise of 1.2 years since 2011.”

Average male life expectancy at birth across the EU was 78.2 years in 2016. At 79.6 years Ireland was above the EU average and ranked the eighth highest. Irish male life expectancy was 1.4 years behind Italy, which had the highest life expectancy at 81.0 years.

The average life expectancy at birth currently for females in the EU is 83.7 years. Ireland, at 83.4 years, is slightly below the EU average and was fifteenth highest among the EU countries. Spain has the highest at birth female life expectancy, 86.3 years.

The largest gender gap in life expectancy in Europe is in Lithuania — 10.6 years between males (69.5 years) and females (80.1 years) at birth. The Netherlands had the smallest gender gap, 3.2 years at 80.0 and 83.2 years respectively.

Things have improved for the over-65s, too, with men of 65 expected to live a further 18.3 years in 2016 as against 12.8 years more in 1926, while women of 65, who might expect 13.4 more years in 1926, would live on average for a further 21 years, an increase of 7.6 years.

Falling infant mortality rates have been the biggest single factor in increased lifespans over the 90-year period, says the CSO, which points out that “strong gains have also been seen over the last 25 years with increases of 7.3 years for males and 5.5 years for females”, apart from the earlier strong period 1941 to 1961.

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