How Many Healthy Life Years for Romanians in EU Context
In 2020, the number of healthy life years at birth in the EU was 64.5 years for women and 63.5 years for men. Romanians had a significantly shorter healthy life span, four years less for women and 4.2 years less for men. Nevertheless, we ranked at 17 for women and at 19 for men in-between the EU27 member states.
Life expectancy at birth for women in the EU was, on average, 5.7 years longer than that for men in 2020 (83.2 years compared with 77.5 years). Healthy life years represent 78% and 82% of the total life expectancy for women and men, respectively. Therefore, on average, men tend to spend a greater proportion of their somewhat shorter lives free from activity limitations. In case of Romania, the discrepancy is even larger, with 77% for women (60.5 healthy years from 78.3 years lifespan) and 84% for men (59.3 healthy years from 70,4 years lifespan).
Covid-19 pandemic had a greater impact in our country than in EU27, lifespan decreasing between 2019 and 2020 with 1.2 years in the case of women (-0.9 in EU) and 1.5 years in the case of men (-1.0 in EU). All in all, the numbers for 2020 went below those registered in 2012 (from 74.4 years to 74.2 years life expectancy in Romania per total).
The strain on health system put by persons with different diseases is almost similar in the case of Romanian women with the European average (17.8 years needing assistance compared with 18.7 in EU27) but far less in the case of men (11.1 years compared with 15 years in EU). That means the duration of medical care needed is 60% larger for women than for men in Romania against 25% in EU27.
Observations across Europe
Among the EU Member States, Sweden recorded the highest number of healthy life years at birth in 2020 for women (72.7 years), followed by Malta (70.7 years) and Italy (68.7 years). The highest numbers for men were also recorded in the same three countries: Sweden (72.8), Malta (70.2) and Italy (67.2).
In contrast, Latvia had the lowest number of healthy life years for both women (54.3 years) and men (52.6 years). Extreme values can be partly explained by the way activity limitation is measured in the country, impacting the results to some extent.
The number of healthy life years at birth was higher for women than for men in 20 of the EU Member States, with the difference between the sexes generally relatively small. In seven EU Member States, the gap was more than 2 years, with the largest differences recorded in Bulgaria (+4.2 years), Estonia (+4.1 years) and Poland (+4.0 years).
At the opposite end of scale, the number of healthy life years for women was lower than for men in six EU Member States. The largest differences were observed in the Netherlands (-2.8 years), Portugal (-2.1 years) and Finland (-1.8 years). In Spain, the same number of healthy life years was recorded for both women and men.
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