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Life expectancy in Congo (DR) from 1870 to 2020

In 1870, the average person born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) could expect to live 31.6 years on average. Under Belgian colonial rule, life expectancy would grow steadily into the 20th century, with a temporary drop in 1920 as the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic would spread rapidly through the country’s extensive river basin. Beginning in the 1940s and 1950s, life expectancy in the DRC would begin to rise greatly, as the Belgian colonial administration aimed to make the country into a “model colony”. However, after peaking at 41.2 years in 1950, increasing instability in the country would see life expectancy to fall to 39 years by 1955.

Life expectancy would begin to grow again in the 1960s, however, and would rise steadily until the turn of the century, when an escalation in the Second Congo War and the growing presence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the country would cause life expectancy to fall for the first time in almost half a century. With the end of the Second Congo War in 2003, and significantly improvements in access to HIV counselling and treatments in the region, life expectancy in the DRC would begin to rise again, and in 2020, it is estimated that the average person born in the DRC will live to just over the age of 60.

Life expectancy (from birth) in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 1870 to 2020*

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Sources

Release date

August 2019

Region

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Survey time period

1870 to 2020

Supplementary notes

*All data given is an average of the preceding five year period.
Data for the second source can be found here.

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