Coronavirus unlikely to shorten life expectancy for much longer
The coronavirus outbreak caused many more people to die than usual since the beginning of last year, but that will have little effect on the life expectancy of 65-year-olds in the long term. Researchers from Statistics Netherlands published this expectation in a prognosis for 2027. Significant adjustments to this prognosis could have consequences for the state pension age.
The statisticians expect that people aged 65 will have an average of 20 years and 11 months to live in 2027. In 2020 they made about the same prognosis.
In the Netherlands, the age at which people can start receiving state pension is linked to the Statistics Netherlands life expectancy. If we expect to get older, the pension will start later. The government will determine the state pension age for 2027 based on the forecast published on Friday.
For 2024, 2025, and 2026, the state pension age is already set at 67 years. In the years before that, the retirement age gradually increased to this point.
Statistics Netherlands makes the life expectancy forecast by looking at demographic trends in, for example, death rates. They note that the actual life expectancy may ultimately turn out slightly higher or lower than calculated in advance.
In 2020, 10 percent more people than usual died, mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic, and 4 percent so far in 2021. This temporarily pushed the life expectancy down. But the long-term effect is small, the researchers expect. "After previous periods of high mortality, such as the Spanish flu and the Second World War, life expectancy quickly returned to its former level."
Life expectancy has been increasing for a long time. In 2019, 65-year-olds had an average of nearly six years more to live than in 1950.
Reporting by ANP.