The latest recent UN population report titled 'World Population Prospects 2022: Summary of Results' indicated that life expectancy has dropped to 71 years in 2021 which was 72.8 in 2019 primarily due to the impact of the Covid pandemic.
The report suggested that the Covid pandemic that originated in 2019 slightly diminished some of the gains in life expectancy humans achieved between 1990 to 2019. During this period, human life expectancy had increased by nine years, and post the pandemic, it was reduced by one year in 2021.
Life expectancy is higher for females
The report stated that life expectancy was higher for females (73.8 years) than males (68.4 years) in 2021.
"This female survival advantage is observed in virtually all regions and countries of the world. The female advantage in life expectancy at birth ranged from 7 years in Latin America and the Caribbean to 2.9 years in Australia and New Zealand," read the report.
The report also shows that the birth life expectancy difference between men and women that declined across some parts over the previous three decades had raised to 5.4 years in 2021 from 5.2 years in 2019.
Life expectancy in various regions
Australia and New Zealand witnessed the highest life expectancy at birth with 84.2 and the lowest in Sub-Saharan Africa (59.7). While it was 67.7 years in Central and South Asia, 72.1 in Northern Africa and Western Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean witnessed 72.2. It was 77.2 in Europe and Northern America.
"In 2021, the disparity between the country with the highest and the country with lowest life expectancy at birth stood at 33.4. Among the countries with a population of at least half a million in 2022, life expectancy at birth reached close to 85 years or above in 2021 in Australia, the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions of China, and Japan. In contrast, life expectancy at birth is the lowest in the Central African Republic, Chad, Lesotho and Nigeria with levels below 54 years in 2021," the report says.
The report estimates that the gap between countries having the highest and lowest life expectancy is expected to rise further.
"In the coming decades, further increases in survival are expected to narrow but not to eliminate differences in life expectancy across countries and regions... By 2050, life expectancy at birth is projected to reach 77.2 years worldwide, with a gap of 31.8 years remaining between the countries with the lowest and the highest values," the report added.
"A large portion of the gap between countries with the lowest and highest levels of life expectancy at birth is attributable to disparities in the under-five mortality rate, which represents the probability of dying between birth and age 5. Still, a child born in sub-Saharan Africa in 2021 is 20 times as likely to die before his or her fifth birthday as a child born in Australia and New Zealand," the report further noted.