Hungary is one of the countries in Europe where the average life expectancy of people has fallen the most, according to a study published in the journal Nature Human Behavior.
It is important to clarify at the outset that life expectancy is a measure that researchers use to summarise a country’s mortality patterns in a given year. This calculation is based on all-cause mortality, so it is not dependent on the accuracy of COVID death records and can give a broader picture of how the pandemic has affected mortality.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused a global decline in life expectancy that has not stopped since the epidemic. Life expectancy improved year on year before 2020 in the 29 countries studied by a team of researchers from the University of Oxford and the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, but there was a more than a one-year decline in average life expectancy in 2019 and 2020, and to a lesser extent in 2020 and 2021, reports Pénzcentrum.
The phenomenon was also observed worldwide, from Eastern Europe to the United States.
Weathered the pandemic well
While Europe and the world have seen a significant decline, northern European countries and Switzerland have weathered the pandemic exceptionally well:
- In Norway, average life expectancy increased by 1.7 months,
- in Sweden by 0.1 months,
- Finland 0.3 months,
- 0.4 months in Denmark,
- In Switzerland, the fall in average life expectancy is 0.5 months below the 1-month mark.
These are the countries where life has been shortened the most
Life expectancy fell most in Bulgaria, by 43 months (3.6 years) in 2021 compared to 2019. Slovakia follows with 33.1 months, where people’s life expectancy has been shortened by 2.7 years, and the United States comes third with 28.2 months (2.35 years).
Hungary and CEE region
Hungary is in the top half of the list, in 6th place: more than two years , (24.6 months) shorter life expectancy compared to 2019.
The Hungarian figures are also among the worst in the region. Although Poland, apart from Slovakia, has seen a greater decline in average life expectancy, the populations of other neighbouring countries have not suffered as much from the pandemic years.
The average person in the Czech Republic and Croatia lost 21.9 months (1.8 years) and 21 months (1.75 years) respectively. But Austria escaped with a 7.6 month (0.6 year) setback.
From a Hungarian perspective, however, perhaps more worrying than the raw numbers is that while many countries managed to reverse the downward trend between 2020 and 2021, in Hungary the trend only got worse.
Read alsoWhy do Hungarians die early?
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