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Why do Danes live longer than most of their European counterparts?

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Why do Danes live longer than most of their European counterparts?
Among Danish men, life expectancy has increased by 4.8 years from 2002 to 2021. The increase among Danish women has been 3.9 years. Photo by Ravi Patel on Unsplash

Danes have experienced one of the biggest increases in life expectancy in Europe over the past two decades, according to figures from the European statistical office Eurostat, analysed by Sampension.

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From 2002 to 2021, a newborn's life expectancy in the European Union (EU) increased by 2.5 years - from 77.6 to 80.1 years.

In the same period, the life expectancy for a newborn in Denmark increased by 4.4 years - from 77.1 to 81.5 years.

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Among the 34 European countries, only Estonia, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein have had a greater increase in life expectancy than Denmark in the period.

"Danes' life expectancy has increased significantly in recent decades and, therefore, more than that of most other Europeans. The development is linked to a number of factors - including generally improved public health here at home.

"At the same time, life expectancy in Denmark has not been affected to the same extent by the coronavirus pandemic as in most of Europe, which also plays a role," Anne-Louise Lindkvist, head of market and customer advice at Sampension, noted.

Differences between women and men

Women live slightly longer on average than men. But the figures from Eurostat show that life expectancy has increased more among men than women in recent decades.

Among Danish men, life expectancy has increased by 4.8 years from 2002 to 2021. The increase among Danish women has been 3.9 years.

"Women generally live longer than men, and this applies both in Denmark and in other countries… And if we look at developments here at home, the difference between men's and women's life expectancy is now the smallest in over 60 years," Lindkvist added.

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The fact that Denmark experiences a greater increase in life expectancy than other countries does not mean that the Danes live the longest.

In Sweden and Norway, people live longer, but the increase in life expectancy there has not been as significant as in Denmark.

Life expectancy in Sweden has increased by 3.1 years from 80 years in 2002 to 83.1 years in 2021. In Norway, the increase in the same period has been 4.2 years - from 79 to 83.2 years.

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