Decrease in Life Expectancy in Germany in 2020: Men from Eastern Germany Most Affected

The COVID-19 pandemic caused an increase in mortality in 2020 with a resultant decrease in life expectancy in most countries around the world. In Germany, the reduction in life expectancy at birth between 2019 and 2020 was comparatively small, at -0.20 years. The decrease was stronger among men than among women (-0.24 vs. -0.13 years) and in eastern rather than in western Germany (-0.36 vs. -0.16 years). Men in eastern Germany experienced the biggest decline in life expectancy at birth (-0.41 years). For western German men, the decline was less pronounced (-0.19 years). Among women, the decline in life expectancy at birth was also greater in eastern (-0.25 years) than in western Germany (-0.10 years). As a result of these developments, the differences in life expectancy between the two parts of Germany, and between women and men, increased compared with the previous year. Life expectancy at age 65 decreased more strongly than life expectancy at birth for both sexes and in all regions. This reflects the fact that it was mainly older age groups that were affected by the increase in mortality in 2020. This paper provides further insights into mortality changes in 2020, based on age decomposition and an analysis of lifespan inequality. We conclude that the population in eastern Germany was hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 than the population in the western Germany.

Team:  Marc Luy, Markus Sauerberg, Magdalena Muszynska-Spielauer, Vanessa Di Lego
Research Groups:  Health & Longevity