The Community of Madrid once again ranks as the European region with the highest life expectancy at birth, followed by the Foral Community of Navarra, the Åland Islands (Finland) and Castilla y León, according to data released today by Eurostat, corresponding to 2021. In addition, and contrary to what happened in most European territories (where life expectancy fell that year as a result of the covid pandemic), the life expectancy of Madrid residents grew by almost three years, and stands at at 85.4 years, more than two years above the Spanish average (83.3).
This gain of almost three years has allowed the people of Madrid to once again appear as the Europeans with the longest life ahead at the time of birth, a category that they had already held uninterruptedly for nine years and that was lost in 2020 with the arrival from covid. In fact, that year Madrid was relegated to 53rd place in the ranking of regions in the EU.
By country, Spain leads the European Union ranking of life expectancy at birth and is also, along with Greece, the country where one can expect to live the longest after 65. Specifically, 21.4 years.
At the other extreme is Bulgaria. The life expectancy of those born there is 71.4 years at birth and 13.6 among those who reach 65 (practically eight years less than in Spain).
Of course, there are also significant differences in survival prospects based on place of birth and residence and gender. On average, European girls born in 2021 can expect to live 5.7 years longer than boys. The largest difference by sex is recorded in Latvia (almost 10 years) and the smallest in the Netherlands (3.3 years). In Spain, the life expectancy gap between men and women stands at 5.9 years at birth and 4.3 at the age of 65.
One of the reasons for the increase in life expectancy of Europeans is, as the statistics show, the decrease in infant mortality. Between 2011 and 2021, the EU rate has gone from 3.8 stillbirths per thousand live births to 3.2. The worst data is registered by Bulgaria (5.6 deaths per thousand babies born alive) and the lowest rates are found by Finland, Slovenia and Sweden.
Between 2002 (the first year that life expectancy data from all EU member countries began to be compared) and 2021, life expectancy at birth for those born in the European Union has increased by 2.5 years , going from 77.6 to 80.1. The gain has been greater in the case of men: 2.9 years on average, compared to the 2 that women have improved.