Having the time of their lives! Life expectancy up by seven years since fall of communism
Figures recently released by the country’s Central Statistical Office, GUS, have shown that the life expectancy of Poles has rocketed since the fall of communism in 1989.
According to the latest data, men are now expected to reach 73.8 years of age and women 81.7 – an increase of 7.6 and 6.5 years respectively.
In line with global norms, women in Poland continue to live longer than men, however, the gender gap has narrowed to 7.9 years as opposed to 9.2 years in 1991.
In all, life expectancy has increased dramatically since 1950 when men were anticipated to live for just 56.1 years, and women for 61.7 years. Mortality rates soared in the aftermath of WWII before dropping in the 1950s. After a gradual improvement in the 70s and 80s, life expectancy rose significantly after the political transition of 1989. As the report by GUS notes, death rates fell markedly among all age groups, and especially among men.
Presenting the data for 2018, GUS did point out that life expectancy has, however, dipped slightly over the past two years.
Furthermore, discrepancies in life expectancy continue to exist where the regions are concerned: the Łódź voivodship in the centre of the country currently has the lowest male life expectancy (72 years) whilst the south-eastern Podkarpacie voivodship enjoys the highest rate (75.5). Women, too, are expected to live for the longest in the latter.
In general terms, and with the exception of Łódź, life expectancy continues to be above the national average in the major urban centres such as Kraków, Poznań, Warsaw and Wrocław. The report concludes that further analysis with regards to the geographical variations in life expectancy could be utilized to reduce these differences.
From a European perspective, life expectancy in Poland stands somewhere in the middle. As things stand, men can expect to live the longest in Liechtenstein (81.6) and shortest in Ukraine (68.3), according to Eurostat data for 2017. For women, Spain tops the list (86.1) whilst Georgia finishes last (77.8).