Data

Life expectancy

What you should know about this indicator

Rationale

Life expectancy at birth reflects the overall mortality level of a population. It summarizes the mortality pattern that prevails across all age groups - children and adolescents, adults and the elderly.

Definition

The average number of years that a newborn could expect to live, if he or she were to pass through life exposed to the sex- and age-specific death rates prevailing at the time of his or her birth, for a specific year, in a given country, territory, or geographic area.

Method of measurement

Life expectancy at birth is derived from life tables and is based on sex- and age-specific death rates. Life expectancy at birth values from the United Nations correspond to mid-year estimates, consistent with the corresponding United Nations fertility medium-variant quinquennial population projections.

Method of estimation

Final estimates of age-sex-specific mortality rates for years 1990-2019 were used to compute abridged life tables for 183 WHO Member States with population of 90,000 or greater in 2019. Life expectancies at birth are reported in World Health Statistics 2019 and full life tables are available in the WHO Global Health Observatory WHO applies standard methods to the analysis of Member State data to ensure comparability of estimates across countries. This will inevitably result in differences for some Member States with official estimates for quantities such as life expectancy, where a variety of different projection methods and other methods are used. These WHO estimates of mortality and life expectancies should not be regarded as the nationally endorsed statistics of Member States, which may have been derived using alternative methodologies and assumptions.

Life expectancy
The average number of years that a newborn could expect to live, if he or she were to pass through life exposed to the sex- and age-specific death rates prevailing at the time of his or her birth, for a specific year, in a given country, territory, or geographic area.
Source
World Health Organization - Global Health Observatory (2024) – processed by Our World in Data
Last updated
January 3, 2024
Next expected update
January 2025
Date range
2000–2019
Unit
Years

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

The GHO data repository is WHO's gateway to health-related statistics for its 194 Member States. It provides access to over 1000 indicators on priority health topics including mortality and burden of diseases, the Millennium Development Goals (child nutrition, child health, maternal and reproductive health, immunization, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, neglected diseases, water and sanitation), non communicable diseases and risk factors, epidemic-prone diseases, health systems, environmental health, violence and injuries, equity among others.

Retrieved on
January 3, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
World Health Organization. 2024. Global Health Observatory data repository. http://www.who.int/gho/en/. Accessed on 2024-01-03

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Citations

How to cite this page

To cite this page overall, including any descriptions, FAQs or explanations of the data authored by Our World in Data, please use the following citation:

“Data Page: Life expectancy”. Our World in Data (2024). Data adapted from World Health Organization. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/life-expectancy-at-birth-who-gho [online resource]
How to cite this data

In-line citationIf you have limited space (e.g. in data visualizations), you can use this abbreviated in-line citation:

World Health Organization - Global Health Observatory (2024) – processed by Our World in Data

Full citation

World Health Organization - Global Health Observatory (2024) – processed by Our World in Data. “Life expectancy” [dataset]. World Health Organization, “Global Health Observatory” [original data]. Retrieved June 18, 2024 from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/life-expectancy-at-birth-who-gho