Life expectancy at birth (years) total and by sex

Indicator name
(English / Spanish)
Life expectancy at birth (years) total and by sex
Esperanza de vida al nacer (en años) total y por sexo
Indicator ID Life_Expectancy_Num
Domain Sociodemographic
Subdomain Demographic
Definition

The average number of years a newborn, a member of a hypothetical birth cohort, could expect to live over the course of his/her life, if he/she were exposed to the age- and sex-specific mortality rates prevailing at the time of birth, for a specific year, in a given country, territory or geographic area.

Unit Years
Measure Index
Type of statistics Corrected/Predicted
Purpose

Life expectancy at birth is a summary measure of the general level of mortality in a population. It reflects the intensity of mortality in different age groups for the same calendar year and the same geographical location.

Unlike what happens with the crude mortality rate, it is independent of the age composition of the population, which allows comparisons between different populations and in the same population over time.

It reflects the living and health conditions of a population.

Method of estimation

For countries with a population greater than 90 thousand inhabitants, the figures are estimates from the United Nations, based on data that represent values estimated as of July 1st, obtained by linear interpolation of the corresponding five-year population projections of the United Nations, using the medium-variant projections.

For countries with less than 90 thousand inhabitants, the figures are estimates from the US Census Bureau International Database. The US Census Bureau population projections are based on the cohort component method.

The calculation of life expectancy at birth is derived from life tables, which are based on age- and sex-specific mortality rates. Their values represent mid-year estimates.

Interpretation example

The life expectancy of country A in 2018 was 75.8 years. This means that if the age-specific death rates observed in 2018 did not change, people born that year in that country could live an average of 75.9 years.

Disaggregation Sex
Limitations

Life expectancy is a hypothetical measure whose calculation is based on national mortality rates, therefore, it depends on the quality of the information sources with which the life tables are prepared, as inputs for life expectancy calculation.

When vital registration systems with complete coverage are not available or the precision of the data is not adequate, life expectancy at birth must be estimated using indirect demographic methods, applicable to wide geographical areas.

Life expectancy at birth may differ depending on the method by which the life table is constructed.

Life expectancy changes as a person ages according to the changes that may occur in mortality trends and health conditions of the population in which they live.

Data source

For countries with a population greater than 90 thousand inhabitants:
United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects. Available in:United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects. Available from: https://population.un.org/wpp/

For countries with a population of less than 90 thousand inhabitants:
Census Bureau of the United States of America. International database. Available from: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/international-programs/about/idb.html

PAHO update periodicity Annual
Link to SDG

n/a

References
PAHO Contact Andrea Gerger, gergeran@paho.org
Update date August 13, 2021