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In the News

Development economics - measuring life expectancy

Penny Brooks

15th May 2018

It can be very hard to measure the impact of government spending on healthcare, and the effect that it has on the living standards in a country. New data from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation has been interpreted into nine charts, showing how life expectancy has changed across the globe in the last 25 years, and the main causes of changes in individual countries. This relates to calculating the HDI, and to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

It shows that, globally, life expectancy has risen by seven years. In some countries, that rise has been as much as 19 years, and that since 1990, life expectancy has improved in 96% of countries. Back then, people born in 11 countries would not be expected to reach 50, yet this milestone was reached by every country in 2016.

It also shows the countries where life expectancy has actually fallen, the gender gap in life expectancy, and the effect of natural disasters and war, as well as the benefits of government intervention to promote better health for the population.

The BBC have also provided a Life Expectancy Calculator, on which you can enter your age and the country you live in, to get a view of your average life expectancy and some comparisons with other countries.

Penny Brooks

Formerly Head of Business and Economics and now Economics teacher, Business and Economics blogger and presenter for Tutor2u, and private tutor

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