Life expectancy increased in 2019

© Hollandse Hoogte / Frank Muller / Zorginbeeld
In 2019, the life expectancy for men in the Netherlands increased by 4 months to 80.5 years, for women by 3 months to 83.6 years. Higher mortality due to COVID-19 may affect life expectancy developments. Depending on mortality throughout the rest of the year, life expectancy will remain the same or decline in 2020. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of new research.

The increase in life expectancy in 2019 is higher than the average in each of the seven previous years. Between 2012 and 2018, life expectancy rose by 2 months for men and 1 month for women on average. Last year’s increase is similar again to the average annual increase in the years prior to that period, 2002 through 2012.

Life expectancy at birth
JaarMale, Netherlands (years)Male, EU (years)Female, Netherlands (years)Female, EU (years)
200075.5480.58
200175.8080.71
200275.9974.380.6980.9
200376.2474.480.9380.8
200476.8775.081.4481.5
200577.1975.181.6081.5
200677.6375.681.8982.0
200778.0175.882.3182.2
200878.3276.182.2882.4
200978.5376.482.6582.6
201078.7776.782.7282.9
201179.1877.082.8583.1
201279.1477.182.8283.1
201379.4177.583.0483.3
201479.8777.983.2983.7
201579.7377.783.1383.3
201679.8878.083.1383.7
201780.0678.183.3283.6
201880.1678.283.3383.7
201980.4683.56
Source: CBS, Eurostat

The Netherlands and the EU

In 2018, Dutch women’s life expectancy was 4 months below the average in the EU, while that of Dutch men was 2 years above the average.
In other European countries as well, life expectancy increased less rapidly between 2012 and 2018 than in the period 2002-2012. In the EU, male life expectancy rose more sharply than female in both periods, just as in the Netherlands.

Research predominantly shows that the strong increase in life expectancy between 2002 and 2012 in the Netherlands was exceptional. Factors playing a role here included developments in care, e.g. more care for the elderly, as well as a decrease in mortality from cardiovascular disease.

Temporary effect of coronavirus

In the spring of 2020, more people died than average due to the outbreak of coronavirus (nearly 9 thousand more in week 11 up to and including 19, according to estimates). The precise impact of excess mortality due to COVID-19 on life expectancy in 2020 is not yet known. This depends on the development during the rest of the year, for which CBS has worked out a number of scenarios. In the most favourable scenario, the elevated mortality in the spring will be compensated by undermortality during autumn and winter and life expectancy this year will end up similar to 2019. In case of rising mortality over the last few months of the year, life expectancy will decline by several months. In the worst-case scenario, there is a second wave which causes twice as many deaths as the first wave. In that case, life expectancy may drop by approximately 1 year to the level of 2010.

In the past, after periods of high mortality such as during the Spanish flu and World War II, life expectancy used to be back to its previous level within a short time.

Life expectancy at birth since 18611)
PeriodeMen (years)Women (years)
1861
to
1866
36.4638.24
1866
to
1871
36.5038.50
1871
to
1876
36.3538.70
1876
to
1881
39.8442.45
1881
to
1886
41.4143.98
1886
to
1891
42.5245.37
1891
to
1896
44.1046.91
1896
to
1901
47.4950.43
1901
to
1906
49.3552.21
1906
to
1911
52.6454.96
1911
to
1916
55.3257.43
1916
to
1921
53.3555.28
1921
to
1926
60.7862.25
1926
to
1931
62.4863.94
1931
to
1936
65.0766.45
1936
to
1941
65.8767.86
1941
to
1946
59.7065.11
1946
to
1951
68.6971.26
1951
to
1956
70.7073.39
1956
to
1961
71.2974.81
1961
to
1966
71.1675.89
1966
to
1971
70.9776.38
1971
to
1976
71.2377.21
1976
to
1981
72.1078.62
1981
to
1986
72.8879.53
1986
to
1991
73.5679.99
1991
to
1996
74.3080.22
1996
to
2001
75.1880.52
2001
to
2006
76.4281.08
2006
to
2011
78.2682.37
2011
to
2016
79.4783.03
1) At five-yearly intervals.

Sources