This indicator is measured as the number of years a person can expect to live at his birthday.
Life expectancy at birth is one of the principal global indicators for mortality, reflecting improvements in living standards and the establishment and improvement in health systems and in medical care. It can thus be viewed as a partial output indicator of the quality of the health care system in general. It is a theoretical indicator where general mortality trends are transposed on a new born child.
The European pattern in 2008 reveals a quite clear east-west divide. When in the majority of old EU member states’ regions the average life expectancy at birth exceed 81 years, in the new CEEC member states only very few regions (in Slovenia and Czech Republic), have reached 80. For the new member states´ regions it is typical to have a life expectancy between 72 and 79 years. In BSR (2010), there is a striking divide between east and west. In the east, the regions of Russia and Belarus have mostly life expectancy below 70 years, the Baltic States – up to 76 and only in Poland some regions have reached 76-78 years. In the west, the regions have an average life expectancy of at least close to 80 years but in majority over 80, including in many at least 82 years. Generally, convergence occurs between east and west. Regions with the lowest life expectancies – in Russia, Belarus and Baltic States are closing the gap. Their indicator level has improved most, typically 0.4 years at least but much more for several Russian regions. At the same time, increases around 0.1-0.2 years are typical for the west.