The pandemic reduces the life expectancy of Basques by around half a year



OP | Eitb Media

The life expectancy of men falls by 0.6 years, from 81.3 to 80.7 years, and that of women by 0.5 years, from 86.8 to 86.3 years. Fertility is also at very low limits, 1.2 births per woman, very far from the 2.1 necessary for generational replacement.

The overmortality caused by covid-19 pandemic in the CAV in 2020 has done decrease life expectancy of the mens in 0.6 years, standing at 80.7 years, and that of women in 0.5 years, up to 86.3 years, according to data from the Basque Institute of Statistics, Eustat.

As Eustat explained, if this increase in mortality from the coronavirus had not occurred, life expectancy would have reached 81.3 years for men and 86.8 years for women.

In any case, this decrease in life expectancy between 2019 and 2020 is far from what has occurred in the group of Spain, since in the men has decreased by 1.3 years and in women by 1.2 years, this being one of the highest that has occurred in the countries of the European Union.

In the last half century, both men and women in Álava, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa have experienced an increase in their life expectancy, despite some ups and downs. Considering the indicators observed in 1976 (69.6 years and 76.9 years of life expectancy for men and women, respectively), it is observed that the life expectancy of women has increased by 9.4 years and that of men at 11.1 years.

Men have gained three more months of life each year to reach 80.7 years, while women have benefited 2.6 more months per year, reaching 86.3 years. The difference between the life expectancies of both sexes has been reduced to 5.6 years from the maximum of 8.7 that occurred 25 years ago.

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Tumors constitute the main threat to the years of life expectancy. If complete elimination were achieved, men would prolong their lives by 4.1 years and women by 2.8 years.

On the other hand, the detriments caused by external causes of death are milder, with 10 months of life remaining for men and 4 months for women, figures that are reduced in the case of traffic accidents to only one month for men and an invaluable amount for women. The figures for these last two circumstances are given both with total deaths, as if the deaths from covid-19 had been removed.

“Exceptionally low” fertility

As Eustat has pointed out, fertility in the Basque Autonomous Community it is in “exceptionally low limits” in comparative terms, since in 2020 the average stands at 1.2 births per woman, below the 1.53 in the European Union (latest data, 2019) and “far away” of the 2.7 births on average in 1976 and of the 2.1 needed for generational replacement. The lowest rate is observed in Bizkaia, with 1.15 births per woman, while Álava reaches 1.29 and Gipuzkoa stands at 1.26.

Based on the data of the indicators for the analysis of demographic phenomena, it is expected that a woman will have an average of 0.61 first births, which means that a third of women would not have any descendants, 0.44 second births and 0.15 third or later births.

In other words, in the latter case, less than two out of every ten women will deliver a third or later birth, which represents a decrease of 81% with respect to 1976, according to Eustat.

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Another of the characteristics of the fertility of Basque women is the high average age at maternity, which stands at 33 years, more than 2 years above the European Union (latest data, 2019) and 4.4 years more than in 1976.

Álava has a somewhat lower average age than the other two territories (32.4 years), while Bizkaia reaches 33.1 years and Gipuzkoa is 33 years.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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