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Lancet study Expected Global life expectancy up 6.2 years since 1990

Utkarsh Classes 04-04-2024
Lancet study Expected Global life expectancy up 6.2 years since 1990 Report 6 min read

According to a Lancet study, people worldwide are living more than six years longer on average in 2021 than they did in 1990. The study also showed that life expectancy in India has increased by nearly eight years in the past three decades.

Progress due to reduction in diseases

  • According to a report, there has been progress made in the reduction of deaths from major causes such as diarrhea, lower respiratory infections, stroke, and ischemic heart disease. 
  • This progress has resulted in an increase in life expectancy. However, the gains could have been more significant if not for the Covid-19 pandemic which disrupted the progress. 
  • Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, researchers found that Southeast Asia, East Asia, and Oceania had the largest net gain in life expectancy between 1990 and 2021 (8.3 years). This increase is mostly due to the decline in deaths caused by chronic respiratory diseases, stroke, lower respiratory infections, and cancer.

Bhutan has biggest life expectancy gain

  • The Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) 2021 presents updated estimates indicating that Bhutan had the largest increase in life expectancy of 13.6 years, followed by Bangladesh with a gain of 13.3 years, Nepal with 10.4 years and Pakistan with a modest increase of 2.5 years. 
  • South Asia, which includes India, had the second-largest net increase in life expectancy among super-regions between 1990 and 2021 with a gain of 7.8 years, mainly due to significant reductions in deaths from diarrhoeal diseases.

Covid-19 affects life expectancy

  • The Covid-19 pandemic hit Latin America and the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa the hardest, causing the most loss of life expectancy in 2021. 
  • A study shows that there has been a decrease in deaths from enteric diseases, such as diarrhea and typhoid, which has contributed to an increase in global life expectancy by 1.1 years between 1990 and 2021. 

The study also highlights the reasons behind the improvement in life expectancy in each region.

Largest increase

  • Between 1990 and 2021, life expectancy increased the most in Eastern sub-Saharan Africa, with an improvement of 10.7 years. 
  • This was largely due to control of diarrheal diseases. The second-largest gain was seen in East Asia, where deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were significantly reduced.

GBD 2021 study

  • The GBD 2021 study measures how many people die from different causes and how many years of life they lose. It looks at this information globally, regionally, nationally, and locally. 
  • The study shows which places have done a good job preventing deaths from certain diseases and injuries. It also shows that some diseases are more common in certain areas. 
  • This information can help people focus on areas where they can make the biggest difference. For example, in 2021, most deaths from foodborne infections happened in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The study also found that 90% of deaths from malaria happened in a small area with only 12% of the world's population. This area goes from western sub-Saharan Africa, through central Africa, to Mozambique.

Meaning of life expectancy

  • Life expectancy means how many years a person lives. It is usually based on an estimate of the average age for a particular population group when they die. 
  • Life expectancy is often used to measure the overall health of a community. It measures health status across all age groups. Shifts in life expectancy are often used to describe trends in mortality.
  • Monaco has the highest life expectancy in the world according to World Population Review in 2023, with locals living to an average age of 87. The top 10 countries with the highest life expectancy include Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea in Asia, and Switzerland and Italy in Europe.


Answer: Monaco

Answer: Lancet
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