Population Change

Factors Affecting HIGH and LOW LIfe Expectancy

By Denver Kunaka Last edited:November 11, 2020

Table of Contents

Life expectancy, in general times is defined as the number of years a person is expected to live in a particular country.

A more in depth definition defines it as the number of years a new born baby is expected to live given that the current mortality and life expectancy trends will remain unchanged for the rest of that person’s life. This is called life expectancy at birth.

Life expectancy is usually high in the more developed countries with countries such as USA, Sweden and Norway having a life expectancy above 80 years. In contrast, developing countries such as Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Zimbabwe, Mali have life expectancies below 60 years.

The high life expectancy in MEDCs is mainly attributed to quality of life. Most people will afford quality health services, good nutrition, gyms etc. Advanced surgical technologies means less deaths.

In addition, literacy is high which means people understand how to take care of themselves and comply to warnings e.g limit high sugar intakes.

Moreover, abundant elderly homes means old people will live longer as they are well taken care off rather than at home. People know to retire when they have reached retirement ages (65 +) which further increase number of years.

LEDCs have low life expectancies particular because quality of life is also very low and diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Ebola and typhoid highly prevail. No one has time to visit check-ups, gyms or jog when trying to make ends meat (make a living). This greatly causes poor health and chronic diseases which greatly lowers the life expectancy.

Increasing populations due to high birth rates e.g. in India means poverty, diseases and strain on resources increases hence lowering the life expectancy.

Lack of education means people don’t know good health habits and high birth rates are usually attributed to this.
Lack of health facilities, sanitation, clean water, trained staff and technology means more deaths and low LEs.

Wars and terrorism e.g. in Pakistan highly prevail in LEDCs further lowering LE and in addition failure to cope with natural disasters also lowers LE.

Factors Influencing High Life Expectancy Factors Influencing Low Life Expectancy
Good health habits and practices e.g. abstinence from smoking, regular check-ups, jogging etc Poor health practices e.g. smoking
Availability of health facilities Poor and limited health facilities
Advanced technology Poor outdated technology
Availability of elderly homes No or few elderly homes
Education and literacy Illiteracy and Ignorance
Low birth rates High birth rates and fertility => population growth =>poverty=>death
Good awareness and public compliance Poor awareness on health
Retirements working beyond 65 years instead of retiring
Wars and Terrorism
Natural disasters and famines