Life expectancy in South Korea decreases for first time since 2000

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : March 27, 2024, 10:46 Updated : March 27, 2024, 17:33
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[Getty Images Bank]

SEOUL, March 27 (AJU PRESS) -- Recent data released by South Korea's state statistical information service has shown that South Koreans' life expectancy dropped to 82.7 years in 2022 from 83.6 years in 2021. This marks the first decrease in life expectancy since 2000, which stood at 76 years. Cancer was the primary cause of death in 2022, while deaths from Alzheimer's disease have surged by over 75 times compared to two decades ago.

In 2022, the main reason for death was cancer, with 162.7 deaths per 100,000 people, followed by cardiovascular diseases (65.8 deaths) and pneumonia (52.1 deaths). The mortality rate caused by Alzheimer's disease soared to 22.7, marking a 75.7-fold increase compared to 2000 (0.3 deaths). By gender, the life expectancy for men was 79.9 years, while for women it was 85.6 years. The gap in life expectancy between men and women decreased from 8.5 years in 1980 to 5.8 years in 2022.

The country's healthy life expectancy, representing the average number of years a person can expect to live without significant illness or disability, also dropped to 65.8 years in 2022 from 66.3 years in 2020. The decrease in life expectancy and healthy life expectancy is attributed to the significant number of deaths caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2022, the alcohol consumption rate among South Koreans aged 19 and above stood at 54 percent, up 0.5 percent year-on-year. The consumption rates were highest among those in their 40s (63.6 percent), followed by those aged 19 to 29 (62.2 percent), and those in their 30s (61.5 percent).

Despite experiencing a slight decrease in 2022, South Korea remains one of the countries with the longest life expectancy. According to a study conducted by a research team led by Imperial College London's environmental health professor Majid Ezzati, the nation is expected to become the longest-living nation in 2030.

The research team predicted that a South Korean female infant born in 2030 would have a life expectancy of 90.8 years, while South Korean males are anticipated to have a life expectancy of 84.1 years. 
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