Life expectancy at birth for women in the EU was, on average, 5.7 years longer than that for men in 2020 (83.2 years compared with 77.5 years). Healthy life years represent 78% and 82% of the total life expectancy for women and men, respectively. Therefore, on average, men tend to spend a greater proportion of their somewhat shorter lives free from activity limitations.
Among the EU Member States, Sweden recorded the highest number of healthy life years at birth in 2020 for women (72.7 years), followed by Malta (70.7 years) and Italy (68.7 years). The highest numbers for men were also recorded in the same three countries: Sweden (72.8), Malta (70.2) and Italy (67.2).
In contrast, Latvia had the lowest number of healthy life years for both women (54.3 years) and men (52.6 years). Extreme values can be partly explained by the way activity limitation is measured in the country, impacting the results to some extent.
The number of healthy life years at birth was higher for women than for men in 20 of the EU Member States, with the difference between the sexes generally relatively small. In seven EU Member States, the gap was more than 2 years, with the largest differences recorded in Bulgaria (+4.2 years), Estonia (+4.1 years) and Poland (+4.0 years).
At the opposite end of scale, the number of healthy life years for women was lower than for men in six EU Member States. The largest differences were observed in the Netherlands (-2.8 years), Portugal (-2.1 years) and Finland (-1.8 years).
In Spain, the same number of healthy life years was recorded for both women and men.