Average life expectancy at birth in the European Union (EU) dropped again in 2021, to 80.1 years. According to Eurostat, the average had already decreased by 0.9 years from 2019 to 2020, settling at 80.4 years. The EU statistical service relates these consecutive setbacks to the sudden rise in mortality caused by the covid-19 pandemic.
In Portugal, even so, the average life expectancy in 2021 was 81.5 years, which compares with 81.1 in 2020 and 81.9 in 2019.
Among the Member States, the highest life expectancies at birth in 2021 were recorded in Spain (83.3 years), Sweden (83.1 years), Luxembourg and Italy (82.7 each); while Bulgaria (71.4), Romania (72.8) and Latvia (73.1 years) were the countries at the opposite extreme.
The drop registered in the European Union did not, however, reverse the trend of increase in life expectancy registered since 2002, the first year in which data are available for all 27 Member States. In 19 years, the indicator rose 2.5 years, from 77.6 to 80.1.
According to the most recent data from the World Health Organization, until March 15, the pandemic – declared on March 11, 2020 – had caused 6,874,585 deaths, in 760,897,555 cases of the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, identified in China in December 2019.