WHO Report Finds Life Expectancy Increased by 5 Years Since 2000

Posted on May 24, 2016

Countries with highest and lowest life expectancy

A WHO report has found that life expectancy has increased by five years since 2000. The report is called World Health Statistics: Monitoring Health for the SDGs. This was the fastest climb since the 1960s. The 1960s gains were reversed during the 1990s due to the AIDS epidemic.

Global life expectancy for children born in 2015 was 71.4 years (73.8 years for females and 69.1 years for males). The chart above shows the countries with the highest and lowest life expectancy. It shows the wide range depending on where you are born. A female born in Japan can live nearly 87 years on average while a male born in Sierra Leone only has life expectancy of about 49 years.

The increase in life expectancy was greatest in the African region of WHO where life expectancy increased by 9.4 years to 60 years. The rise was driven mainly by improvements in child survival, progress in malaria control and expanded access to HIV medications.

WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan says in a statement, "The world has made great strides in reducing the needless suffering and premature deaths that arise from preventable and treatable diseases. But the gains have been uneven. Supporting countries to move towards universal health coverage based on strong primary care is the best thing we can do to make sure no-one is left behind."

You can find the report here on the who.int website. The site also provides 28 data visualizations from the study. The increase in life expectancy was great news but here a few very upsetting findings from the study:

More from Science Space & Robots