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Demography. Poland “a brown island on the life expectancy map in Europe”? The data is not encouraging

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“People in Poland today live three years and four months less than Europeans live on average,” argued the leader of the Green Party, Urszula Zielińska, at the program convention of the Civic Coalition. We checked: according to Eurostat data, people live longer in 19 EU countries than in Poland.

On Sunday, September 10, at the Civic Coalition’s program convention, the following speakers appeared: Urszula Zielińska, KO MP and chairwoman of the Green Party. Announcing KO’s ideas in the area of ​​environment, she stated: :

Because people in Poland today, imagine, live three years and four months less than the average lifespan of Europeans.

“And this needs to be changed and we need to fix it. Our lives are shorter, among other things, because our own climate and our own environment are poisoning us. Our rivers are poisoning us, the air we breathe, toxic garbage that is dumped outside our towns is poisoning us, for our villages, which suddenly burn without control in the summer and this must end,” the MP argued.

And she continued: “Poland, our wonderful country, is not a green island today. Poland is today a brown island on the air quality map. It is today a brown island on the life expectancy map in Europe. Both we the Greens and we Civic Coalition are here to to change it,” she promised.

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Life expectancy: what is it in Poland, what is it on average in the EU?

To check whether life expectancy in our country is actually three years and four months shorter than the average in Europe, we analyzed Eurostat data on life expectancy. This is the average number of years a person can expect to live (from birth) if they remain subject to their current mortality risk factors for the rest of their life – explain Eurostat. This is a simple but important indicator that illustrates the development of mortality in a given country.

Eurostat serves life expectancy statistics for 2013-2022 for the 27 members of the European Union. However, the data for 2022 are estimates for now and may change (no estimates for Ireland for this year).

And so: in 2021, life expectancy in European Union countries was 80.1 years – that is, about 80 years and one month. In Poland it was 75.5 years – that is, 75 years and six months. So in 2021, life expectancy in Poland was four years and seven months lower than the EU average. This is a difference of more than a year compared to the one reported by the leader of the Greens.

In turn, according to preliminary estimates, in 2022 the average life expectancy of a resident of the European Union was 80.7 years – i.e. 80 years and 8 months. The estimate for Poland was still lower: 77.4 years – that is, 77 years and less than 5 months. So the average life expectancy in the EU was higher by 3 years and 3 months – these estimates are close to those given by MP Zielińska (especially taking into account the conversion of decimal years into months).

Eurostat data has not been optimistic for us for some time: life expectancy in Poland has been below the EU average for years. Since 2013, the EU average (calculated for the 27 current members) has remained above 80. The highest was in 2018 – 81 years; the lowest in 2021 (i.e. in the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic) – 80.1 years.

However, in Poland, life expectancy during this period ranged between 76.5 years in 2021 and 78 years in 2016 and 2019.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a decline in the life expectancy of Europeans. Statistics for 2021 were the lowest in both the EU and Poland since 2013. But estimates for 2022 are promising – life expectancy has increased both in Poland and in the EU.

People live longer in 19 EU countries than in Poland

We also checked how Poland compares to other countries in terms of life expectancy European Union countries.

In 2022, the estimated life expectancy in the EU was the highest in Spain – 83.2 years, followed by: Sweden (82.1 years) and Italy and Luxembourg (83 years each). Poland was in 20th place (77.4 years). Life expectancy was shorter than in Poland only in Slovakia (77.2), Hungary (76.2), Lithuania (76), Romania (75.3), Latvia (74.8) and Bulgaria (74.2). 3).

In the analyzed years, EU countries are clearly divided into two groups. The first group includes those where life expectancy was at least 80 years – these are 19 countries, mainly in Western Europe. These include: France, Belgium, Portugal, Austria, Germany. The second group consists of countries where life expectancy does not exceed 80 years, but is over 70. This is most of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, including Poland, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Romania and Bulgaria.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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