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Regional Disparities in Life Expectancy Across Europe: Madrid Leads, Ireland’s South Lags

The latest data from Eurostat, the European Commission’s data analysis branch, reveals significant variations in life expectancy across Europe. The overall life expectancy at birth in the EU averages slightly over 80 years.

A notable gender gap exists, with women in the EU having a life expectancy of 82.9 years, while men average 77.2 years, a difference of nearly six years.

In Ireland, the south records an average life expectancy of just over 80 years for men and 83.8 years for women. Meanwhile, in the eastern and middle regions, men are expected to live to 80.7 years and women to 84.3 years. In the west and north, men’s life expectancy averages 80.5 years, while women are expected to live to just under 85.

Notably, the area around Madrid, Spain, boasts the highest life expectancy in Europe. Women there are projected to live just over 88 years, while men lag behind at 82 years. Spain, in general, ranks as one of the top regions for women’s life expectancy, with five other Spanish regions, including Comunidad Foral de Navarra, Castilla y León, Cantabria, Galicia, and País Vasco, reporting averages of at least 87 years. Beyond Spain, the Rhône-Alpes in France and Provincia Autonoma di Trento in Italy follow closely, with an average of 86.7 years for women, according to Eurostat.

For men, Åland in Finland reports the highest life expectancy at birth in 2021, at 82.8 years. Other regions with high male life expectancy include Comunidad de Madrid and Comunidad Foral de Navarra in Spain, and Stockholm and Småland in Sweden, all hovering around 82 years.

Latvia exhibits the most significant gender disparity, with women’s life expectancy at birth being 9.8 years higher than that of men.

It’s worth noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted the steady increase in life expectancy observed in Europe over the past decade, according to Eurostat. The data suggests that life expectancy declined in 2020 and 2021, following a period of consistent growth.

These figures highlight the disparities in life expectancy across Europe, with regional variations and gender differences playing a significant role. The data also carries implications for the future, with the elderly population projected to double in the Republic of Ireland by 2051, as per the Institute of Public Health.

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