• Spain edition
 
Spanish women second longest-living in world
Long life expectancy in Spain also places a burden on the country's social security system, especially given high rates of unemployment. Photo: Diego López Román

Spanish women second longest-living in world

Published: 15 May 2014 17:04 GMT+02:00
Updated: 15 May 2014 17:04 GMT+02:00

Spanish women lived to an average ripe old age of 85.1 years in 2012, behind only the Japanese who live an average 87 years, the Who data released on Thursday shows.

While Spanish women share second place with similary healthy Singaporean and Swiss women, the country's menfolk don't make it into global the top ten.

That group had an average life expectancy of 79 in 2012, a little way behind world leaders Iceland (81.2), Switzerland (80.7) and Australia (80.5).

SEE ALSO: What do Spanish people die of

The strong figures for Spain come in the context of greater average longevity worldwide, according to the Who's World Health Statistics 2014.

Global averages show a girl who was born in 2012 can expect to live to around 73 years, and a boy to the age of 68. This is six years longer than the average global life expectancy for a child born in 1990.

"An important reason why global life expectancy has improved so much is that fewer children are dying before their fifth birthday,” said Dr Margaret Chan, Who Director-General on the data.

But Chan also pointed out there was still a major rich-poor divide: men and women still live less than 55 years in nine sub-Saharan African countries – Angola, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Mozambique, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.  

In high-income countries, on the other hand, much of the gain in life expectancy was due to success in tackling noncommunicable diseases, said Dr Ties Boerma, Director of the Department of Health Statistics and Information Systems at WHO.

"Fewer men and women are dying before they get to their 60th birthday from heart disease and stroke. Richer countries have become better at monitoring and managing high blood pressure for example," Boerma said.

But the relative longevity of Spanish women and men is not all positive.

Spain's population shrunk in 2013 for the second year in a row and population projections suggest deaths will outweigh births by 2017.

The country also has a total fertility rate of just 1.48 children per woman, with economic woes playing a role in keeping this figure down, while level necessary to keep population stable in 2.1 children per women. 

While high numbers of immigrants have kept Spain's population decline in check in recent years, the crisis has led to many of those people leaving.

In the medium to long term, the result could be a seriously aged population for the country.

Spain's low birthrate "puts the survival of the welfare state" at risk, said Salome Androher, the general director for family and childhood services at Spain's health ministry in 2013

Don't miss stories about Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.es)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Angry students blast education funding cuts
Angry students during the third day of demonstrations on Thursday against the Spanish government's cuts in education spending. Photo: Dani Pozo/AFP

Angry students blast education funding cuts

Thousands of chanting students, teachers and parents took to the streets across Spain on Thursday to protest against government spending cuts, higher university tuition fees and other reforms to the education system. READ  

Cricketer fined €1,125 for playing in public square
Cricketers in Barcelona say that there is a problem in terms of suitable places to practice . Photo: Shutterstock

Cricketer fined €1,125 for playing in public square

A cricketer in Barcelona was recently slapped with a €1,125 ($1,400) fine for wielding bat and ball in a public square in what is not an isolated case, the member of one cricket club in the city has told The Local. READ  

Ebola crisis: five patients given all-clear
Photo: Pedro Armestre/AFP

Ebola crisis: five patients given all-clear

Five patients who were isolated in Madrid's Carlos III hospital after having contact with Teresa Romero, the Spanish nursing assistant who contracted and beat the Ebola virus, left the facility on Thursday after being given the all-clear by doctors. READ  

Almodóvar sorry over 'illiterate' Galicians gaffe
Pedro Almodóvar apologized to Galicians, but reiterated his fury at Spanish bankers. Photo: Britta Pederson / AFP

Almodóvar sorry over 'illiterate' Galicians gaffe

Top Spanish film director Pedro Almodóvar has apologized after he suggested people in Spain's Galicia region were backward during an angry attack on Spain's banks. READ  

Spanish science
Canary telescope hunts for Earth-like planets
A night-time view of the Teide Observatory on the island of Tenerife. Photo: Shutterstock

Canary telescope hunts for Earth-like planets

A new 'low-cost' telescope on the Spanish island of Tenerife on Wednesday kicked off what will be an international search for nearby planets which could support life. READ  

Immigration crisis
Viral border photo shows two worlds collide
Bunker mentality: At first glance, the image appears to capture an idyllic morning round of golf. Photo: José Palazón/Prodein

Viral border photo shows two worlds collide

A startling photograph taken on Wednesday shows the reality at the border between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla in North Africa. The Local spoke to the man behind the image. READ  

Corruption focus
Finally: Spain's leaders face up to corruption fury
Cut it out: Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's face on a banner at an anti-corruption protest in Madrid in 2013. File photo: Dominique Faget/AFP

Finally: Spain's leaders face up to corruption fury

Spanish authorities are taking a tougher line against dirty dealing by the country's long untouchable political elite as a lengthy economic downturn fuels public outrage. READ  

Game of Thrones gets Spanish tapas treatment
Game of Thrones extras leave the bullring in the Andalusian town of Osuna. Photo: Cristina Quicler/AFP

Game of Thrones gets Spanish tapas treatment

Fans of the "Game of Thrones" fantasy TV series are flocking to the historic Spanish town of Osuna, where one canny restaurant owner has even starting naming the tapas after characters in the show. READ  

Going down: jobless rate dips below 24 percent

Going down: jobless rate dips below 24 percent

Updated: Over 150,000 Spaniards found work from July to September, Spain's best summer since the country's economic crisis began, official figures released on Thursday show, but youth unemployment remains chronically high. READ  

Don't hurt migrants: Spain to border police
A member of the Spain's Guardia Civil police with would-be immigrants on top of a border fence separating Morocco from the north African Spanish enclave of Melilla on Wednesday. Photo: AFP

Don't hurt migrants: Spain to border police

Spain said on Wednesday it would order police guarding its borders with Morocco to take care to prevent injuries when tackling migrants who scramble over the fences into Spanish territory, after evidence of abuse by officers sparked outrage. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Viral photo shows two worlds collide at Spain's African border
What's On
What's on in Spain: November 2014
National
Top Ten: the very best new Spanish words
National
Flash floods: woman dies in Canary Islands
Health
Cured: Spanish nurse with Ebola beats virus
International
Mango apologizes for 'Nazi blouse'
National
Where's the best place to live in Spain?
Travel
Top ten: great autumn getaways in Spain
National
The great Spanish cities quiz: take it now
National
Revealed: the cost of expat food in Spain
Politics
Catalan leader calls independence vote 'lite'
What's On
Games of Thrones star 'barred' from Seville film set
Health
Spanish nurse contracts Ebola in Madrid
National
Madrid starts fining users of Uber 'taxi' app
Education
Only one Spanish university makes world's top 200
What's On
What's on in Spain: October 2014
Politics
Spanish court suspends Catalan independence vote
National
Catalonia defies Madrid and calls independence vote
National
Spanish village swaps bulls for giant balls
Society
Spain scraps plans for tough new abortion law
National
Spain's royal 'bad boy' to be sent to UK school
National
'This is a great time for entrepreneurs in Spain'
National
Loud porn movie scares locals into calling cops
National
'We'll axe Catalan autonomy but won't send in tanks'
National
Spain's Thatcher square defaced by 'Brits'
National
Top 10: best Spanish movies of all time
National
Gravedigger suspended for corpse photo gaffe
Society
Named: the best city to live in Spain
National
Catalonia's 'Diada': 5 things you need to know
Travel
Top ten amazing activities in Tenerife
National
Spain opens door to ban on burqas
Travel
Top ten: best bike rides in Spain
Travel
Spain to reopen 'world's most dangerous walk': The Camino del Rey
National
'Catalonia could be the shock Spain needs'
National
Office slang: Top ten Spanish expressions
Sport
Think you know Spanish football? Try these amazing facts
International
Australia set to welcome young Spanish workers
Opinion
Is tourism destroying Barcelona?
Society
Fashion fail: Zara pulls plug on 'Holocaust shirt' for kids
National
Man hurt as friend swaps ice bucket for plane
Spain 'would block independent Scotland from joining EU'
Politics
Spain 'would block independent Scotland from joining EU'
International
Spanish police mistake Morocco's king for people smuggler
What's On
What's on in Spain: September
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

1,732
jobs available