Further decline in life expectancy in Canada in 2022, particularly among women

For a third consecutive year, life expectancy at birth for Canadians decreased from 81.6 years in 2021 to 81.3 years last year.

The data drawn by Statistics Canada from the Canadian Vital Statistics — Deaths Database specifies that the decrease observed in 2022, of 0.3 years, was greater than that of 0.1 years noted in 2021. Last year, the decline in life expectancy at birth was measured at 0.4 years for women and 0.2 years for men.

Regional observations indicate that life expectancy has declined in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba. In contrast, in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, where significant declines were observed from 2020 to 2021, life expectancy at birth was essentially unchanged from 2021 to 2022.

Statistics Canada reports that life expectancy increases when there are fewer deaths overall, or when deaths tend to occur at older ages, or a combination of both. Life expectancy decreases when there are more deaths, when deaths occur at younger ages, or a combination of both.

The federal agency noted in particular that the number of deaths attributable to COVID-19 increased from 14,466 deaths in 2021 to 19,716 last year. It was the highest number of deaths recorded since the start of the pandemic.

The phenomenon was particularly high in Atlantic Canada, where the rate of deaths attributable to COVID-19 in 2022 was more than seven times higher than in 2021.

At the same time, although cancer and cardiovascular diseases remained the two main causes of death in Canada last year, they represented 41.8% of deaths, compared to 44.3% in 2021.

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