Average life expectancy in China rises to 78.2 years in 2021
Published: Jul 13, 2022 01:11 AM

Elderly women attend a paper-cutting workshop organized by a local community in Fengtai District of Beijing, capital of China, March 8, 2018. Photo: Xinhua
Elderly women attend a paper-cutting workshop organized by a local community in Fengtai District of Beijing, the capital of China, March 8, 2018. Photo: Xinhua News Agency

The average life expectancy in China rose to 78.2 years in 2021, compared with 77.9 years in 2020, according to the Statistical Bulletin on Health Development in China 2021, released by the National Health Commission (NHC) on Tuesday. 

The maternal mortality rate decreased from 16.9/100,000 to 16.1/100,000, and the infant mortality rate decreased from 5.4‰ to 5.0‰, read the report.

Average life expectancy, maternal mortality and infant mortality rates are important indicators to measure the general health of a country's population. China's mortality rate for maternal, infant and children under five in 2021 dropped to the lowest level in history, said Song Li, Deputy Director of the Department of Woman and Child Health Services of the NHC.

According to the statistical bulletin, the ratio of health expenditure to GDP in 2021 was 6.5 percent. By the end of 2021, there were 1,030,935 medical and health institutions in China, including 36,570 hospitals and 977,79 primary-level clinics.

In 2021, 8.47 billion medical visits were made to health institutions nationwide, a 9.4 percent year-on-year increase of 730 million with residents making an average of 6 visits to medical institutions.

In the prevention and control of COVID-19, a total of 11,937 medical and health institutions across the country provided nucleic acid testing services as of December 31, 2021, with a total testing capacity of 41.68 million samples per day. There are more than 800 designated hospitals for COVID-19 in China.

The latest data show that Chinese people now live longer than their US counterparts, as life expectancy in the US fell from 78.9 years in 2019 to 76.6 years in 2021, increasing a dramatic decline from 2020 that was the largest since World War II, CNN reported. 

Calculations in 2018 suggested that life expectancy in China was on course to overtake the US around 2027 but the process was accelerated by COVID-19, according to media reports.

More than one million had died from COVID-19 in the US by May this year, driving a major drop in life expectancy for the second year in a row.

Meanwhile, China aims to raise the average life expectancy to 79 years by 2030 with an increase in health spending of up to a billion dollars to build free fitness facilities, all in an effort to promote the health of its citizens. 

Besides, the dynamic zero-COVID policy followed by the Chinese government, which seeks to stamp out infections, also helped the country keep its COVID death toll remarkably low, which protects the health and well-being of the entire population.

Global Times