Quantifying impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic through life expectancy losses

Jose Manuel Aburto, University of Oxford
Jonas Schöley, Max-Planck Odense Center on the Biodemography of Aging
Ilya Kashnitsky, Interdisciplinary Centre On Population Dynamics, University Of Southern Denmark
Luyin Zhang, University of Oxford
Charles Rahal, University of Oxford
Trifon I. Missov, Interdisciplinary Centre on Population Dynamics (CPop), University of Southern Denmark
Melinda Mills, University of Oxford
Jennifer B. Dowd, Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, University of Oxford
Ridhi Kashyap, University of Oxford

Variations in the age patterns and magnitudes of excess deaths, as well as differences in population sizes and age structures make cross-national comparisons of the cumulative mortality impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic challenging. Life expectancy is a widely used indicator that provides a clear and cross-nationally comparable picture of the population-level impacts of the pandemic on mortality. Life tables by sex were calculated for 29 countries, including most European countries, Chile and the USA for 2015-2020. Life expectancy at birth and at age 60 for 2020 were contextualised against recent trends between 2015-19. Using decomposition techniques, we examined which specific age groups contributed to reductions in life expectancy in 2020 and to what extent reductions were attributable to official COVID-19 deaths. Life expectancy at birth declined from 2019 to 2020 in 27 out of 29 countries. Males in the USA and Bulgaria experienced the largest losses in life expectancy at birth during 2020 (2.1 and 1.6 years respectively), but reductions of more than an entire year were documented in eleven countries for males, and eight among females. Reductions were mostly attributable to increased mortality above age 60 and to official COVID- 19 deaths.

Keywords: Mortality, Longevity, COVID-19, Applied demography

See paper.

  Presented in Session 186. Demographic Analysis of the Covid-19 Pandemic