Place of birth crucial: pandemic reduces life expectancy

The corona virus leaves deadly traces in the German population.

Place of birth crucial: pandemic reduces life expectancy

The corona virus leaves deadly traces in the German population. Depending on the federal state in which a newborn baby sees the light of day, its average life expectancy is reduced by up to more than a year.

In some federal states of Germany, the average life expectancy fell significantly more during the corona pandemic than in other parts of the republic. As reported by the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB), the southern regions of eastern Germany recorded the sharpest declines between 2019 and 2021.

According to calculations by the experts, the average life expectancy of newborn boys in 2021 was around one and a half years lower than before the pandemic in the federal states of Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony and Thuringia, which were particularly affected by Corona, and a little more than a year for newborn girls.

Schleswig-Holstein is at the other end of the scale. According to the information, life expectancy there increased by 0.2 years between 2019 and 2021 for newborn boys, while there was a comparatively small decrease in the forecasts for newborn girls with a minus of 0.2.

Life expectancy in Germany fell by 0.2 years to 78.49 years for boys and by 0.1 years to 83.36 years for girls during the first Corona year 2020, as the calculations show. When the alpha and delta variants dominated in 2021, it fell by a further 0.4 years in boys and by 0.3 years in girls. Before the start of the pandemic, life expectancy in Germany had increased by around 0.1 year per year.

According to the experts, a falling life expectancy of more than one year is very unusual outside of wartime. "Reductions of this magnitude were last recorded at the end of the GDR," explained the research director at the Federal Institute, Sebastian Klüsener. The strong regional differences can be explained, among other things, with the infection situation, the corona measures taken and the behavior of the population. The proximity to severely affected neighboring countries such as the Czech Republic and Poland also plays a role.

Life expectancy calculates the average length of life that newborns would live if the age-specific mortality rates recorded in one year were held constant over the next 115 years.

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