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Korea’s Life Expectancy to Reach 78.2

Posted November. 08, 2005 07:25,   


The life expectancy of South Koreans during 2005-2010 is expected to be 78.2 years, 27th in the world, but the accelerating pace is the fastest in the world. The life expectancy of South Koreans over the next five years will grow 8.4 years over the last two decades. In contrast, that of the North Koreans will decrease by 1.7 years to 64.5 years over the same period.

These are some of the contents of the U.N.’s report on life expectancies of 101 countries worldwide, Korea National Statistical Office announced on November 7.

South Korea’s Life Expectancy Growing Fast-

According to the U.N. report, South Koreans’ average life span was 69.8 years during 1985-1990, 42nd among the countries surveyed. However, it jumped to 76.8 years during 2000-2005 and ranked 30th. It is expected to further rise to 78.2 between 2005 and 2010, which will put South Korea 27th in the world, ahead of the U.S. (77.9 years).

South Korea’s increase is the 10th highest in the world, following countries including Bangladesh (11.8 years), Egypt (10.2), Vietnam (8.8), and Indonesia (8.6). Out of countries with a life expectancy of 75 years or longer, Korea’s is growing the fastest.

The life expectancy gap between South Korea and Japan, the top ranked, was 8.5 years in 1985-1990, but it will shrink to 4.6 years within the next five years. Korea’s average life span will become nearly the same as that of European nations (78.4) or North American countries (78.3).

The country with the longest life expectancy was Japan with 82.8 years, followed by Hong Kong (82.2), Iceland (81.4), Switzerland (81.1), and Australia (81).

North Korea’s Life Expectancy Lower than 20 Years ago-

Life expectancy is on the rise in most countries except 15: 13 African nations, Iraq, and North Korea. Most of them are suffering from either dire famine or war.

In the period 1985-1990, life expectancy of North Korea was 66.2 years, about the same as that of South Korea (69.8). It dropped to 63 during 2000-2005, but it is expected to rebound slightly to 64.5 during 2005-2010. However, it will still be lower than that of two decades ago.

The country with the highest decreasing rate was Botswana where a large portion of the population is infected with AIDS. Its life expectancy is estimated to be 33.9 years, an appalling 31.2 years drop from 65.1. Lesotho comes in second with 22.1 years of decrease, followed by South Africa (17.1), Zambia (10.1), and Central African Republic (10). Life expectancy for the countries in 2005-2010, with the exception of South Africa, is projected to be below 40.

Ki-Jeong Ko koh@donga.com