Life Expectancy In Canada Dropped The Most Ever In 2020

National life expectancy dipped by over seven months, primarily because of COVID-19, says Statistics Canada.

Assistant Editor, MTL Blog
Life Expectancy In Canada Dropped The Most Ever In 2020

COVID-19 has not only contributed to Canada's historic rise in inflation, but it has also played a major role in the decline of the nation's life expectancy. Life expectancy in Canada dropped by over seven months in 2020 — the biggest decline in the nearly 100 years since it started being recorded — with COVID-19 a significant factor, according to Statistics Canada.

The report stated that 307,205 deaths occurred in 2020, the year the pandemic began – an increase of 7.7% over 2019. This led the national life expectancy to drop from 82.3 years in 2019 to 81.7 in 2020. That's the largest annual drop since 1921, the year the statistic was first recorded in Canada.

COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in Canada for 2020, behind only cancer and heart disease, Statistics Canada said. It noted that life expectancy in Canada and many other countries across the globe "tends to increase over time" and said the seven-month dip is "primarily linked to the COVID-19 pandemic."

The virus accounted for 5.3% of Canada's death toll in 2020, affecting those 65 years and older the most. However, mortality rates increased for "most age groups," the report said, adding that the mortality rate in 2020 among people aged 25 to 39 was the highest it's been in over 20 years.

Statistics Canada found that Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia had the largest decline in life expectancy, with the decrease greater for males than females everywhere across Canada except for Quebec.

Canada is not the only country to feel the impact of the pandemic. Statistics Canada noted that countries like Italy, Spain and the United States experienced an even bigger hit on their nation's life expectancy, with declines as high as 1.5 years. Contrarily, the life expectancy in countries such as Norway, Denmark and Finland remained stable or even increased despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency said.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Mike Chaar
Assistant Editor, MTL Blog
Mike Chaar is an Assistant Editor for MTL Blog focused on recalls in Canada and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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