WHO: 2019 Life Expectancy Statistics

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In 2015, 2.3 to 3.5 billion people had full coverage of essential services.  This signifies that at least half of the world’s 7.3 billion people are not receiving the essential health services they need.

The number of people requiring interventions fell from 2.03 billion in 2010 to 1.58 billion in 2017.

By 2030, the World Health Organization wants to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, tropical diseases, hepatitis, and water-borne and other communicable diseases.

Children

woman holding her child in her arms

In 2019, more than 141 million babies will be born: 73 million boys and 68 million girls.

Substantial progress has been made in reducing child deaths since 2000, with the global under-5 mortality rate dropping by 49%, from 77 deaths per 1000 live births in 2000 to 39 deaths per 1000 live births in 2017.  

This is the equivalent of 1 in 14 children dying before reaching five-years-of-age in 2017, compared with 1 in 13 dying before five-years-of-age in 2000.

The leading causes of death in young children over 28 days of age are pneumonia, diarrhoea, birth defects and malaria.

Babies, who die within the first 28 days of birth, suffer from conditions and diseases associated with lack of quality care or skilled care and treatment immediately after birth.

In 2018, there were an estimated 12.8 million births among adolescent girls aged 15–19 years, representing 44 births per 1000 adolescent girls as compared to 53 births per 1000 adolescent girls from 2000 to 2005.  Adolescent birth rates are lowest in high-income countries (12 births per 1000 adolescent girls) and highest in low-income countries (97 births per 1000).

Life expectancy at birth in low-income countries is 62.7 years.  This is 18.1 years lower than in high-income countries where the life expectancy is 80.8 years.

The risk of dying before five-years-of-age is higher in boys in all income groups set by the World Bank and in all regions.

An estimated 5.4 million children under five-years-of-age died in 2017.  Nutrition-related factors contribute to about 45% of these deaths.

Vaccinations

Use of pneumococcal conjugate and rotavirus vaccines is lagging, especially in middle-income countries without donor support.  Vaccination against both these diseases has the potential to substantially reduce deaths of children under five-years-of-age, because pneumonia and diarrhoea are the leading causes of death in this age group.

Stunted Growth

Globally, the proportion of children under five-years-of-age who are stunted fell by nearly a third between 2000 and 2018; regardless, in 2018, more than 20% of children were shorter than global standards for their age.

Obesity

Globally, the proportion of children under five-years-of-age who are overweight increased by 20% between 2000 and 2018.  In 2018, one in 17 children were heavier than global standards for their height.  The proportion of children considered overweight is highest in the WHO Region of the Americas where one child in 14 is overweight.

Child Marriage

young Pakistan girl

About 650 million girls and women alive today were married before their 18th birthday.

Globally, the practice of child marriage of girls has continued to decline.  During the past decade, the proportion of young women who were married as children decreased from 25% to 21%.

Female Genital Mutilation

At least 200 million girls and women have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries with representative data.  The exact number of girls and women who have undergone female genital mutilation on a global scale remains unknown.

Women

increasing scale

Women have a longer life expectancy than men at all ages. 

The lifetime risk for Alzheimer disease is greater in women than men, partly because more women survive to ages when the disease most commonly occurs.

Communicable diseases, injuries and maternal conditions contribute most to differences in life expectancy between men and women in low-income countries, while non-communicable diseases (NCDs) contribute most to life expectancy differences in high-income countries.

Women’s life expectancy is reduced in low-income countries through maternal conditions and cervical cancer.

Worldwide, one in three (35%) women and girls aged 15–49 years report physical or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.  Most of this is intimate partner violence, which affects 30% of women (aged 15–49 years) and 30% of adolescent girls (aged 15–19 years).

Estimates of the proportion of women who have experienced intimate partner violence range from 23.2% in high-income countries and 24.6% in the WHO Western Pacific Region low to middle income countries, to 37% in the Eastern Mediterranean Region low to middle income countries and 37.7% in the South-East Asia Region low to middle income countries.

Men

graphic image of men

Of the 40 leading causes of death, 33 causes contribute more to reduced life expectancy in men than in women, namely ischaemic heart disease, road injury, trachea, bronchus and lung cancer, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and stroke.

Men’s life expectancy in low-income countries is reduced more than women’s life expectancy for road injuries, TB, interpersonal violence, prostate cancer, self-harm and drowning.

The higher estimated incidence and death rates of TB among men may be partly explained by men being more likely to smoke or drink.  Immunological reasons for an excess of TB disease in men have also been proposed.

Diseases

In 2017, there were 558,000 new cases resistant to rifampicin, the most effective first-line drug, of which 460,000 were multidrug resistant.

Between 2000 and 2017, the TB incidence rate fell by 21% to 134 per 100,000, resulting in an estimated 10 million cases of TB in 2017.

Between 2000 and 2017, the incidence of new HIV infections fell by 49% to 0.25 per 100,000, resulting in an estimated 1.8 million cases of HIV in 2017.  Globally, the incidence of HIV infection declined from 0.40 per 1000 uninfected population in 2005 to 0.25 per 1000 uninfected population in 2017.

An estimated 219 million cases of malaria occurred in 2017, leading to 435,000 deaths.

Hepatitis B prevalence among children under five-years-of-age fell from 4.7% in the pre-vaccine era to 0.8% in 2017.

Suicide

cardiogram of people

Global suicide mortality rates decreased in 2000–2016 by 16% in men and 20% in women. 

The highest suicide mortality rates were seen in the WHO European Region for men and in the South-East Asia Region for women.

Road Traffic Deaths

The number of annual road traffic deaths reached 1.35 million in 2016 and road traffic caused up to 50 million injuries. 

The burden of road traffic injuries and deaths largely falls on those living in low and middle-income countries, where 93% of the road traffic deaths occur, even though those countries have only 60% of the registered vehicles.

Homicides

In 2016, there were an estimated 477,000 deaths globally due to homicides. 

Men are almost four times more likely to be murdered than women.

Globally, one in five homicides is committed by an intimate partner or family member and women make up the majority of those deaths.  In 2013, an estimated 38% of homicides among women were committed by their intimate partners as compared to 6% of homicides among men.

Globally, homicide rates fell from 8.1 to 6.4 (per 100,000 population) between 2000 and 2016, a reduction of 21%, which is twice the overall rate of decrease in all mortality.

Air Pollution

On a global scale, 9 out of 10 people dwelling in urban areas are exposed to air pollution from PM2.5  levels that are above the annual mean WHO air quality guideline levels of 10 μg/m3, with the highest annual mean levels of urban PM2.5 concentration being in the WHO SouthEast Asia Region (57.3 μg/m3 ) and Eastern Mediterranean Region (54.0 μg/m3 ).

Poor air quality is associated with increasing risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases.

Household Pollution

The proportion of the global population with primary reliance on clean fuels and technologies has been increasing progressively, and in 2017 it nearly reached full coverage in the WHO European Region (>95%) and Region of the Americas (92%).  Nevertheless, 3 billion people still cook with polluting fuels and technologies, putting their health at risk, especially in the WHO African Region, where only 17% have primary reliance on clean fuels – a situation that has changed little in 3 decades.

Household and ambient air pollution were jointly responsible for 7 million deaths in 2016.

Women in low-resource settings are more reliant on natural resources and more vulnerable to environmental risks because alternative opportunities and sources of livelihood are limited.  Women and children in rural areas bear the greatest burden of death due to high levels of black carbon produced by the inefficient burning of solid fuels in unventilated homes.

The WHO African Region has the highest age-standardized mortality rates (180.9 per 100,000 population), over six times as high as the lowest rates, which are seen in the WHO Region of the Americas (29.7 per 100,000 population).

Life Expectancy

Mortality rates are higher in low-income countries and the WHO African Region. 

Life expectancy of 62.7 years in low-income countries is 18.1 years lower than in high-income countries, at 80.8 years.

The 10 conditions that contribute to reduced life expectancy in low income countries are:

  1. lower respiratory infections (life expectancy reduced by 2.09 years)
  2. diarrheal diseases (1.97 years)
  3. stroke (1.45 years)
  4. HIV/AIDS (1.45 years)
  5. TB (1.35 years)
  6. ischaemic heart disease (1.35 years)
  7. malaria (0.96 years)
  8. road injury (0.75 years)
  9. birth asphyxia and birth trauma (0.63 years)
  10. protein-energy malnutrition (0.62 years).
Child with map of the world

In low-income countries, one in 41 women dies from maternal causes.  In upper middle and high-income countries, such deaths rarely occur.

Maternal deaths contribute more to differences in life expectancy between men and women than any other single cause.

In low-income countries, more than a third of children are stunted from long-term nutritional deprivation. 

One child out of 14 will die before his/her fifth birthday.

In 2016, life expectancy in men was 4.4 years lower than for women, with higher death rates for multiple causes, especially cardiovascular diseases, road injuries, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and stroke.  Men are generally exposed to increased occupational risks, and have higher prevalence of tobacco use and higher per capita consumption of alcohol.

In many settings, men use health services less than women, even after taking into account reproductive-related consultations. The health gap between men and women is widest in high-income countries.

Global Improvements

Global life expectancy increased by 5.5 years to 72.0 years between 2000 and 2016, and healthy life expectancy increased by 4.8 years to 63.3 years.

Of the 29 health-related Sustainable Development Goal indicators, for which global trends are reported, 24 have shown improvements in recent years.  More births are attended by skilled health personnel, and women are less likely to die in childbirth.

Global targets to reduce neonatal deaths and deaths in children under-five-years-of-age are on track, and childhood stunting is in decline.  Regardless, it is estimated that 303,000 maternal deaths occurred globally in 2015 and 5.4 million children under-five-years-of-age died in 2017.

hand holding the world

Vaccination coverage rates have increased while incidence rates for several infectious diseases, prevalence of tobacco smoking, exposure to environmental risks and premature, non-communicable disease mortality have decreased.

 

What Has NOT Improved

Progress has stalled for five of the 29 health-related Sustainable Development Goal indicators for which trends are reported:

  1. the proportion of children under-five-years-of-age who are overweight,
  2. malaria incidence,
  3. harmful use of alcohol,
  4. deaths from road traffic injuries, and
  5. water sector official development assistance.

Canadian Life Expectancy Statistics

Canadian Flag

Due to opioid-related overdoses among young, adult men in British Columbia, life expectancy rates in Canada have stopped increasing for the first time in four decades.

On average, women in Canada can expect to live for 84.0 years and men for 79.9 years.

Life expectancy at birth increased in four provinces: Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan – and as well in the Nunavut Territory. There was no change in life expectancy in Ontario from 2016 to 2017.

From 2016 to 2017, life expectancy for men increased by 0.3 years to 80.6 in Quebec.  For the first time, life expectancy for men living in Quebec surpassed that of Ontario men.

Life expectancy at birth for men in Prince Edward Island hit a record high of 80 years.  In contrast, life expectancy at birth in British Columbia fell for the second year in a row, decreasing by 0.3 years for men and by 0.1 years for women from 2016 to 2017.

Adults from the age of 55 to 89 are living longer. In 2017, 65-year-old men could expect to live for an additional 19.3 years (to age 84.3), while 65-year-old women could expect to live for an additional 22.1 years (to age 87.1).

Resources

For additional information, Diligencia Investigative Reporting recommends the following websites:

WHO Statistics

Statistics Canada

Additional Resources

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