A new study, “Global and National Declines in Life Expectancy: An End-of-2021 Assessment,” reports on changes in life expectancies around the world.
While some research has analyzed the impact of Covid-19 on national life expectancy, mostly in Western Europe and the United States, this is the first published study estimating the global impact of Covid-19 on life expectancy.
The 2019–2020 decline was followed by another decline of 0.72 year between 2020 and 2021. However, the world’s life expectancy appeared to stabilize by the end of 2021.
“Still, the world’s life expectancy was two years lower in 2021 than it should have been in the absence of Covid-19,” says Heuveline.
Heuveline’s research also sheds light on the effect of Covid-19 on life expectancy in countries where the topic has received relatively little attention. Data still do not allow reliable estimation in nearly half of the world’s nations, but estimates indicate that the impact of Covid-19 has been larger in several Asian and African countries (Egypt, India, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, the Philippines, South Africa, Tunisia) than in extensively studied countries of Western Europe (e.g., Italy, Spain, or the United Kingdom).
Heuveline writes: “These results highlight a geographical imbalance between the availability and quality of data on excess mortality and impact of the pandemic.”