Life expectancy at age 65 to be 20.82 years by 2026

© Hollandse Hoogte / Robin Utrecht
Statistics Netherlands (CBS) projects life expectancy at age 65 to be 20.82 years in 2026. Policy makers will use this figure in setting the future state pension (AOW) entitlement age. The life expectancy forecast is part of the Population forecast 2020–2070, to be published by CBS on 16 December of this year.

The newly projected 20.82 years of period life expectancy in 2026 are virtually equal to last year’s forecast (20.86 years), with a difference of two weeks. The forecast describes the most likely development, but it also contains uncertainties. More information can be found in the last paragraph.

Life expectancy at age 65, observations and forecast
 Observation (yrs)Forecast of 2019 (yrs)67% forecast interval (yrs)95% forecast interval (yrs)Forecast of 2020 (yrs)
200017.44
200117.57
200217.60
200317.78
200418.19
200518.34
200618.58
200718.86
200818.99
200919.21
201019.28
201119.51
201219.45
201319.60
201419.91
201519.66
201619.76
201719.88
201819.88
201920.1020.1319.85 – 20.4219.56 – 20.71
202020.2319.83 – 20.6419.43 – 21.06
202120.3319.84 – 20.8319.34 – 21.35
202220.4319.87 – 21.0119.29 – 21.61
202320.5419.90 – 21.1919.26 – 21.86
202420.6419.94 – 21.3619.24 – 22.10
202520.7519.99 – 21.5219.23 – 22.33
202620.8620.05 – 21.6919.23 – 22.5620.82
202720.9720.11 – 21.8619.25 – 22.78
202821.0920.18 – 22.0219.26 – 23.00
202921.2020.24 – 22.1919.28 – 23.22
203021.3220.31 – 22.3519.31 – 23.43
203121.4320.38 – 22.5119.34 – 23.64
203221.5520.46 – 22.6719.37 – 23.8521.50
203321.6720.54 – 22.8319.41 – 24.06
203421.7820.61 – 22.9919.45 – 24.27
203521.9020.69 – 23.1519.49 – 24.47
203622.0220.77 – 23.3119.53 – 24.67
203722.1420.85 – 23.4719.57 – 24.87
203822.2520.93 – 23.6219.62 – 25.07
203922.3721.01 – 23.7819.66 – 25.27
204022.4821.09 – 23.9319.71 – 25.46

AOW legislation based on CBS forecast

The CBS forecast is used as a basis for determining the future state pension entitlement age as laid down in the General Old Age Pension Act (AOW, Article 7a). On the basis of the life expectancy forecast for 65-year-olds in 2026, the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment will determine the state pension entitlement age for 2026. This age will rise to 67 years in 2024, in accordance with AOW legislation. For subsequent years, the increase in the state pension entitlement age will be determined on the basis of the life expectancy forecast. To this end, on 8 July 2020, Minister Koolmees of Social Affairs and Employment and State Secretary Vijlbrief of Finance submitted a legislative proposal to the House of Representatives linking the state pension age to average life expectancy.

Life expectancy increasing

Since 1950, the period life expectancy for 65-year-olds has shown a rising trend. It was still 14.3 years in 1950; by 2019, this had gone up to 20.1 years. According to the latest projection, it will be 0.7 years longer by 2026. Life expectancy does not increase evenly over the years. The trend may accelerate or slow down in certain periods. In the Netherlands, as in other Western European countries, the increase in life expectancy was slower between 2012 and 2018; in 2019, Dutch average life expectancy was slightly more accelerated.

Life expectancy at age 65
JaarTotal (years)Men (years)Women (years)
195014.314.114.6
195114.414.114.7
195214.614.314.9
195314.414.014.8
195414.614.215.1
195514.614.015.1
195614.413.914.9
195714.814.215.3
195814.814.215.4
195915.014.215.7
196015.014.215.7
196115.114.315.9
196214.913.915.8
196314.813.815.8
196415.314.116.4
196515.113.916.2
196615.113.916.2
196715.313.916.6
196815.113.716.4
196915.113.616.4
197015.113.616.5
197115.213.616.6
197215.113.416.6
197315.413.717.0
197415.613.817.2
197515.513.517.2
197615.613.517.4
197716.114.018.0
197815.913.717.9
197916.314.018.3
198016.314.018.4
198116.414.018.5
198216.414.018.5
198316.514.018.7
198416.514.118.7
198516.514.018.7
198616.514.018.7
198716.914.319.0
198816.914.419.0
198916.814.318.9
199016.914.419.0
199117.014.519.0
199217.114.719.1
199316.814.418.8
199417.114.819.1
199517.114.719.1
199617.114.819.0
199717.315.019.2
199817.315.119.2
199917.315.219.1
200017.415.319.2
200117.615.519.3
200217.615.619.3
200317.815.819.5
200418.216.319.8
200518.416.420.0
200618.616.720.1
200718.917.020.5
200819.017.320.5
200919.217.420.8
201019.317.620.8
201119.517.920.9
201219.517.920.8
201319.618.021.0
201419.918.521.2
201519.718.220.9
201619.818.421.0
201719.918.621.1
201819.918.621.0
201920.118.821.2

Impact of coronavirus

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic which reached the Netherlands in March and in the first nine weeks in particular, mortality was higher than average. The current trend in mortality is rising as well. Depending on developments over the rest of the year, life expectancy in 2020 will be several to twelve months lower than in a situation without coronavirus. Nevertheless, the pandemic is not expected to adversely affect the upward trend in life expectancy that has been going on for years. In the past, after periods of high mortality such as during the Spanish flu and World War II, life expectancy quickly returned to its previous level. That is why the latest life expectancy forecast for 2026 is roughly the same as the one made before the pandemic.

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.

Most likely scenario

For its projections of future life expectancy, CBS makes use of a model which was developed within the international scientific community. This model is based on the expectation that the stable decline in mortality around Western Europe will continue in the long term. In this way, temporary changes in the Dutch trend have a less distorting effect on future projections than if the model were based on Dutch developments only. However, forecasts remain uncertain. The degree of uncertainty around the forecast is calculated by using so-called forecast intervals. These indicate the degree of accuracy of a forecast.

The life expectancy forecast is part of the annual population forecast conducted by CBS. This forecast describes the most likely future development of the Dutch population. The CBS Population forecast 2020–2070 will be published on 16 December 2020.

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