Germany is known for its high standard of living and, with that, one of the longest life spans globally. Life expectancy in Germany has been steadily increasing over the past few decades thanks to a combination of factors, including an excellent healthcare system and decreasing rates of infant mortality.
The average life expectancy at birth in Germany varies according to the sex assigned at birth and is broadly in line with the European Union average. Let’s find out how long the average German can expect to live.
- Life expectancy in Germany for males and females
- Changes in life expectancy in Germany
- Why life expectancy is increasing
Life expectancy in Germany for males and females
In 2021, the average life expectancy for females in Germany was 83.4 years. For males, it was 78.5 years. That is an average life expectancy for all citizens of 81 years. This is fairly close to the European Union average for the life expectancy of its citizens, which was 80 years in 2021. There is also a five-year gap between the life expectancies of men and women in the EU, mirroring that of Germany. There are many reasons for the gap in life expectancy between men and women around the world, including genetics, lifestyle choices and work.
Germany does not have the highest life expectancy in Europe. This honor went to Iceland, Norway and Sweden in 2020, though Hong Kong led the world, with an average life expectancy of 88 years for females and 82.9 years for males.
Changes in life expectancy in Germany
Since 1950, German life expectancy has risen steadily. In 1950, the average life expectancy was 66.7 years, and it reached 75.4 by 1990 before continuing to rise to its current levels. The United Nations predicts that life expectancy will continue to increase over the next decades to reach over 90 years in Germany in 2100.
There were significant drops in life expectancy in Germany during certain periods in the 20th century. Unsurprisingly, these happened during World War I, the influenza pandemic that followed it, and during World War II. Between 1940 and 1945, life expectancy in the country dropped by almost 16 years, though it recovered quickly after the war ended. In the 21st century, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a drop in life expectancy in Germany, though it was not nearly as pronounced as the wartime decreases.
Why life expectancy is increasing
There are many reasons for the increase in life expectancy in Germany and around the world. One very important factor has been the development of vaccines, which have helped to eradicate killer diseases like smallpox and polio in many places, including Germany. Other medical advances, such as the advent of antibiotics, have also played a crucial part. Add improvements in sanitation, better quality food and healthier lifestyles, and you see rising life expectancies. From the mid-twentieth century onwards, the increase in life expectancy has mainly been due to lower mortality in old age.
The German government has also been instrumental in increasing life expectancies in the country. In 2008, the IN FORM initiative was launched to promote healthy diets and physical activity. Tobacco control laws have also helped to reduce deaths from smoking-related diseases.
How long do Germans live?
Currently, life expectancy at birth in Germany stands at 81 years for all citizens, though there is an almost five-year gap between the sexes. Men can expect to live 78.5 years and women 83.4. Medical advancements and a focus on healthy lifestyles have ensured that life expectancy in Germany, and most countries around the world, has risen substantially since the beginning of the 20th century, and predictions say it will continue to do so.