Life Expectancy Inching Toward 80 Years

      November 13, 2009 09:31

      South Korea will rank 22nd in the world in terms of average life expectancy at 79.4 years for next year, far more than the world average of 67.6 years. The life expectancy of South Korean women will be 82.5 years and for men 75.9 years.

      But the country's economic growth potential will likely fall, with the number of working people diminishing as a result of the low birthrate and aging society. The figures come from analysis of the UN's "State of World Population" report by the Statistics Korea on Thursday.

      By contrast, North Korea is predicted to rank 75th with 67.3 years, shorter than the world average. Iraq fares little better with 67.4 years and Bangladesh is worse off with 65.9 years.

      Japan will have the highest life expectancy in the world at 82.7 years in 2010. Next come Hong Kong (82.2), Iceland and Switzerland (81.8), Australia (81.5), and France and Italy (81.2). Africa has the lowest life expectancy with a mere 45 to 55 years due to civil wars, famine and poor medical facilities.

      By gender, Japan will top the list in terms of life expectancy for women at 86.2 years, with the world average being 69.8 years. Japan will be followed by Hong Kong (85.1), France (84.7), and Italy, Spain and Switzerland (84.1). But for men, Iceland will top the list at 80.2 years, with the world average being 65.4 years. Next are Hong Kong (79.4) and Switzerland (79.3).

      A Statistics Korea official said, "The fact that life expectancy grows every year means that the country is quickly becoming an aged society. It's becoming more important to prepare for falling productivity and increased welfare spending."

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