Impact of the corona pandemic: life expectancy of Germans is falling slightly

The pandemic has a negative impact on the average lifespan in Germany – especially for men. However, other states are struggling with more serious declines. And in one federal state, the opposite trend can even be observed.

According to a study, the corona pandemic has reduced life expectancy in Germany, but significantly less than in some other countries. Between 2019 and 2020, life expectancy in Germany fell by 0.3 years for men and 0.1 years for women, according to the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB) in Wiesbaden.

In the USA, where measures to contain the virus were only hesitantly taken, life expectancy fell by 2.2 years for men and 1.7 years for women. “These are very exceptional values ​​for a highly developed country,” said Pavel Grigoriev, head of the BiB research group on mortality. In Poland, Spain and Italy, life expectancy decreased by more than a year for men and women in 2020, the institute said.

In contrast, life expectancy in Northern Europe developed more favorably than in Germany – except in Sweden, where fewer corona containment measures had been taken. Life expectancy is not only influenced by Covid-19, but detailed death statistics show a significant influence in many countries, said Grigoriev.

Values ​​cross borders

The institute also found major differences within Germany. In Schleswig-Holstein, like in neighboring Denmark, life expectancy has increased – this had also been the case nationwide for years before the corona pandemic.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is also above the national average. Saxony, on the other hand, recorded a decline. In western Germany, the decline in Bavaria stands out. The researchers spoke of spatial patterns that sometimes went beyond national borders.

The researchers calculated the values ​​from data from the Federal Statistical Office. In a special evaluation, this determined a total of 77,612 deaths in Germany for September 2021, ten percent more than the average for the years 2017 to 2020 for this month. From January to September the numbers are on average five percent above the reference value. According to an extrapolation, six percent more people died in the week from September 27 to October 3 than in the same period of the previous year.