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Polish life expectancy over five years lower than in Western Europe

Life expectancy in Poland is five years lower than that found in Western European countries, a situation similar to the one in the 1990s, experts have said.

The main cause of the difference is a higher death rate in Poland due to diseases of the circulatory system, specialists told the 7th Cardiac Academy for Journalists event held on Thursday, adding that since 2015 the process of reducing the number of excess deaths in Poland had halted.

As a result, after a period of the gap shrinking, life expectancy in Poland has started to decline to a greater extent than in the Netherlands or Scandinavia, they said.

According to data from Eurostat, the EU statistical office, average life expectancy has increased in Poland over the last 30 years, in line with the trend in other EU countries, dropping only during the Covid-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, in Western Europe, average longevity has continued to increase, falling during the pandemic but not to as great an extent as in Poland.

In 1990, the average life expectancy in Poland was 71 years, against over 76 in countries of the ‘old’ EU, a difference of 5.5 years. By 2014 the difference had been cut to four years but since 2015 the average length of life has remained unchanged at 78 years while in Western Europe it has increased to 82 years.

The cardiologists attributed the situation to the pandemic, during which average life expectancy in Poland fell by more than two years in 2021 (to 75.9) while in Western Europe the decline was only by six months (to 81.5). The result, they said, is that the difference has returned to that recorded in the early 1990s and in 2021 stood at 5.6 years.

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