With the name of life expectancy, the average number of years that a population lives is known. It is important to understand that it is just that: an average. The number of years that the population usually lives is taken into account. It is not an absolute value, but an average that serves as a forecast .

For example, if life expectancy in a country is 72 years; it means that every child at birth has a high probability of living just 72 years. However, it does not imply that you are necessarily going to reach that age. Perhaps, he will die sooner or even have many more years to live .

The importance of the life expectancy index

Why is it relevant to know this index? To a large extent, it makes clear the possibilities of subsistence in a given context . Likewise, it serves to verify the values that seem to induce more years of existence.

Plus, it’s an essential part of something called the Human Development Index (HDI). It happens that the HDI is a value used to certify the quality of life in a country, or region. It is made up of the following variables:

  • Education Index: which indicates what percentage of the population has access to education, as well as the quality of the education received. Includes the adult literacy rate. Enrollment in primary, secondary and university.
  • Gross Domestic Product : indicates the total production of goods or services of a country or region. Some prefer to place per capita income in this case, to verify not only production but also the distribution of wealth.
  • Life expectancy: it is considered to be the value that points to the health of the population.

In general, it happens that a country with progress tends to improve its life expectancy. For example, at the beginning of the 20th century the United States had a life expectancy close to 60 years. Today, he is close to 80 years old.

Why is life expectancy increasing? Causes are varied: better food, health services, fewer wars and violence, a more stable life , as well as the development of people in all areas, such as education or the professional.

How life expectancy is calculated

This is a statistical calculation . Therefore, the result is always a probability, not an accurate number or an exact prediction. Basically, it takes as a starting point a trio of factors:

  • The age of departure and time of birth.
  • Sex
  • The demographic location.

There are always starting conditions to make this calculation . However, things can change for the better or to minimize it. For example, the factors that increase it are the following:

  • That health conditions improve.
  • That the food is better, both in quantity and quality.
  • Better income, a more relaxed life, etc.

On the other hand, there are also factors that significantly decrease it . Some that we can mention are the following:

  • Wars.
  • Violence and crime, which increases the death rate from homicides.
  • Pandemics, diseases, etc.
  • Natural disasters: earthquakes, floods, etc.
  • Abuse of alcoholic beverages in the population.
  • The potability of the water.
  • Abuse of unprotected sexual practices.
  • Pollution has become a very important factor. For example, residents who live near industrial areas (with a lot of air pollution) have less.

It remains to say that the age of the deceased is taken into account and added to obtain a total. Then, this amount is divided by the number of inhabitants of a territory.

World life expectancy figures

What is the life expectancy of humanity? To make this calculation, an average life span is estimated among all countries today. Although it is an estimate with a margin of error, the current life expectancy is usually considered to be about 77-79 years.

What does the above mean? It implies that the average lifespan of all human beings is the one indicated above. But this factor changes a lot by country and by continent.

The countries with the longest and shortest life expectancies today

To demonstrate the above, it must be taken into account that the life expectancy factor is very different in different territories. For example, let’s see the following table with nations with higher life expectancy and those where the vital prognosis is lower:

Countries with higher life expectancyINDEXCountries with lower life expectancyINDEX
Italy82.54Ivory Coast53.58
Iceland82.47Sierra Leone51.84

Some things are inferred. The first thing is that life expectancy is higher in first world countries. Furthermore, all the countries with the lowest life expectancy are from Africa.

Life expectancy by continents

How do you discriminate by regions of the planet? To do this calculation, the ideal is to do it by continents . In this regard, we have the following table:

Europe78 years
North America75 years
Latin america and the caribbean72 years
Asia63.5 years
Africa58 years
Oceania77 years

From the above, some considerations can be extracted , which we indicate in the list below:

  • Europe and North America (USA and Canada) have the longest life expectancy.
  • Africa has the lowest life expectancy on the planet.
  • The case of Asia is peculiar . Nations such as Japan, South Korea or Singapore have a high life expectancy (over 80 years), but the rest of the Asian continent has low this index, taking it to a continental total of 63.5 years.

Therefore, life expectancy is always a relative number . Actually, it is an average. It can give an error if a very large sample is taken.

In any case, to understand it well, contextual factors must be considered . Only in this way is this concept fully understood.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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