Life expectancy by continent and gender 2019

This statistic shows the average life expectancy at birth by continent in 2019. The average life expectancy at birth worldwide was 70 years for males and 75 years for females in 2019.

Life Expectancy

Life expectancy is defined as a statistical measure of how long a person may live, based on demographic factors such as gender, current age, and most importantly the year of their birth. The most commonly used measure of life expectancy is life expectancy at birth or at age zero. The calculation is based on the assumption that mortality rates at each age were to remain constant in the future.

Life expectancy has changed drastically over time, especially during the past 200 years. In the early 20th century, the average life expectancy at birth in the developed world stood at 31 years. It has grown to an average of 70 and 75 years for males and females respectively, and is expected to keep on growing with advances in medical treatment and living standard continuing.

Life expectancy still varies greatly between different regions and countries of the world. The biggest impact on life expectancy is the quality of public health, medical care, and diet. As of 2017, the countries with the highest life expectancy were Hong Kong (85 years) and Japan (84 years). The following countries are mostly from Western Europe, but also from other industrialized parts of the world. Countries with the lowest life expectancy are mostly African countries. The ranking was led by Sierra Leone (52 years) in Western Africa. The impact of AIDS on life expectancy in many African countries is notable in this list.

When compared inside a single country, difference in life expectancy are mostly the result of economic circumstances. With lower income comes lower life expectancy. Life expectancy of high income households averaged about 79 years, while low income households had a life expectancy of 62 years as of 2013.

Average life expectancy at birth in 2019, by continent and gender

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Release date

September 2019



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

Average life expectancy of a newborn according to the current mortality rate.

According to the source the data from the above statistic originates from official statistical yearbooks and bulletins of the particular country. Moreover, publications of the United Nations, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (Population Division) of the UN and the U.S. Census Bureau serve as data sources. Further sources are recent demographic studies, special studies and direct interviews with demographers and inquiries at statistical offices of the U.S. and other countries.
Data for females can be found here.

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