Life Expectancy

Indicator Description

  • A. Definition

    The expected life expectancy (average life expectancy for a given birth year)

  • B. How to measure

    Life expectancy = total survival years by age/number of survivors by age

  • C. Features and Sources

    Category Sub-Category Sub-Subcategory Type of Indicator Reference Data Sources First year data available Periodicity
    Social Rights Right to Health Physical Health Objective/Result Statistics Korea Life Table 1970 1 year
  • D. Interpretation

    When we study the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Article 12(1), the States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. Life expectancy is the most preliminary data on the life span of an individual’s birth and death, and it is calculated as to how well a newborn in that year can survive without a particular illness or accident. Life expectancy and death probability are representative indicators of how the overall health status of Koreans is changing over time. It is also a very important indicator because it can predict changes in the population of the country through the comparison of the life expectancy of each household and can prepare social change, such as pension and medical policy establishment, accordingly beyond simply checking the change in the life span. The life expectancy of Koreans continues to increase due to improved living standards and health insurance coverage. By 2017, males and females can survive to 79.7 years and 85.7 years respectively — 2.9 and 2.1 more years as compared to 2010. It is important to understand how much life span has increased and the likelihood of dying from a disease. These are meaningful factors that can facilitate understanding of the general health status of the population.

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