When I'm 65: Eleven healthy years left if you're Irish

Although Irish women at 65 can expect to live three years longer than men of the same age, the number of healthy years they each have left is roughly the same. New figures from Eurostat released today show that the life expectancy for 65 year old women is 21.1 more years whereas for 65 year old men it is 18.1 more years. However, when it comes to a healthy life, the gap is much closer with 11.2 years for women and 11.1 years for men.

On the EU level, it is interesting to note that the Member States with the highest life expectancy at the age of 65 are not necessarily the same as those with the most healthy life years left at 65. In all Member States, women have a longer life expectancy at 65 than men, while for healthy life years left at the age of 65, men have a higher number of years than women in ten Member States.

In 2010, the longest life expectancy at 65 for women was observed in France (23.4 years ), Spain (22.7 years ) and Italy (22.1 years in 2009 ), and for men in France (18.9 years ), Spain (18.6 years ) and Greece (18.5 years ). The shortest life expectancy at 65 for women was recorded in Bulgaria(17.0 years ), Romania (17.2 years in 2009 ) and Slovakia (18.0 years ), and for men in Latvia (13.3 years ), Lithuania (13.5 years ) and Bulgaria(13.6 years ).

In 2010, the highest number of healthy life years at 65 for women was recorded in Sweden

(15.5 years ), Denmark

(12.8 years ) and Luxembourg (12.4 years ) and for men in Sweden (14.1 years ), Malta (12.0 years ) and Denmark (11.8 years ). The lowest number of healthy life years for both women and men was observed in Slovakia (2.8 years for women and 3.3 years for men ), followed by Romania (5.0 years ) and Estonia (5.5 years ) for women, and Latvia (4.9 years ) and Estonia (5.3 years ) for men.


A healthy condition is defined by the absence of limitations in functioning/disability, measured by a self-perceived question asking for the extent of any limitations in activities people usually do caused by a health problem (for at least the past six months ). The indicator of healthy life years measures the number of years that a person of a specific age is expected to live without any severe or moderate health problems, which means that the respondent can maintain usual activities. It should be noted that due to different ways of phrasing the question at national level, data might not be fully comparable.

This information is published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union in connection with the first meeting of the European Joint Action on Healthy Life Years3 organised within the framework of the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations 2012.



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