Life expectancy across EU regions in 2020

In 2020, the life expectancy at birth in the EU was 80.4 years. This figure was 5.7 years higher for women (83.2 years) than men (77.5 years). In fact, female life expectancy was higher than male life expectancy in every NUTS level 2 region with available data.

Compared with 2019, the life expectancy at birth experienced a decrease (-0.9 years). Men experienced a larger decrease in life expectancy (-1.0 years) than women (-0.8 years). However, this reduction in life expectancy at birth is related to the sudden increase in mortality in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This information comes from data on life expectancy published recently by Eurostat. The article presents a handful of findings from the more detailed Statistics Explained article.

Life expectancy highest in EU regions across France, Spain, Italy and Greece

In 2020, the regions in the EU with the highest levels of life expectancy at birth were located in France, Spain, Italy and Greece. The EU region with the highest life expectancy at birth was the French island of Corsica (84.0), followed by the Balearic Islands in Spain (83.9) and the Epirus region in Greece (83.8). On the other hand, the EU regions with the lowest life expectancy at birth were all in Bulgaria: North-West (72.1), North-Central (72.8), and North and South-East Bulgaria (72.9).

The French island of Corsica had the highest female life expectancy (87.0 years), followed by the Spanish region of Galicia (86.7). Two French regions (Loire and Midi-Pyrénées), the Åland Islands in Finland and the Epirus region in Greece recorded the same female life expectancy; 86.4 years. The highest levels of male life expectancy at birth were recorded in the Epirus region in Greece, the region of Umbria in central Italy and the Balearic Islands in Spain (all 81.4).

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Methodological notes: 

  • Croatia: some regional data for 2020 unavailable. Due to a change in the NUTS regulation, data for these regions will become available at a later stage.
  • EU 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2019: breaks in time series. EU 2018, 2019 and 2020: estimate, provisional.
  • In this article, the regional data are presented at NUTS 2 level. The names of the regions are in English. Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Luxembourg and Malta are single regions at this level of detail.