Press Release 18/11/2014


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The life expectancy of Basque women is amongst the highest in Europe

The Basque Country has a high proportion of people aged 65 and above, which is a priority focus group with regards to health

The life expectancy of women in the Basque Country (85.4 years) exceeds, as it does in other countries in the European Union, the life expectancy of men (78.9 years), but these rates are also amongst the highest in Europe, according to data prepared by Eustat. These data and other data can be found in the Health Outlook of the Basque Country, which looks at factors determining health, perceived health status, medical assistance and health expenditure as well as an international comparison.

In addition to this, demographic indicators, which show the size and composition of the potential future demand for health care, indicate that the proportion of the population aged 65 and above in the Basque Country, at 20.2%, is amongst the highest in the EU28 (where it is 18.2%). They also indicate that the proportion of the infant population is amongst the lowest (13.8% compared with 15.6% in the EU28).

Population aged 65 and over (%). 2013
Source: Eustat and Eurostat

The low mortality rate, which has risen to 8.69 people for every 1000 inhabitants - below the EU28 rate of 10.3 - stands out, as does the high position of France, Switzerland and Spain, which occupy the best positions in the table.

Respiratory diseases and tumours are the most common causes of death in the Basque Country and the EU28, although the order is different: tumours are the main cause of death in the Basque Country, whilst respiratory diseases are the main cause of death in Europe. It is also worth mentioning the increase in the number of deaths linked to population ageing, i.e. deaths resulting from mental disorders and Alzheimer's.

Health-related behaviours point to positive and negative data: the proportion of the population doing healthy, physical exercise is increasing, as is the proportion of people giving up smoking, whereas the proportion of women who drink is increasing (14.5%) and obesity affects nearly 20% of the population over 65.

The Basque population considers its health status to be good. The indicator "happiness and health", which links perceived health status to the level of satisfaction with life and income, was rated "good" on average (7.5 out of 10) in the Survey on Social Capital, and, amongst various professions, doctors were valued the most.

Nevertheless, there has been a higher incidence of depression and anxiety symptoms, especially among the female population (24%), and chronic illnesses, such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and osteoarthritis, now affect almost half the population: 45% of men, 47% of women and more than 80% when we consider those aged 65 and above.

As for the human resources employed in the health sector, 71% of those employed work in hospital activities, 23% in medical and dentistry consultations and 6% work in other health activities; additionally, 75% of these people are women.

Health expenditure per capital (in terms of Purchasing Power Standards in $), which increased to 3,695, puts the Basque Country a better position, above countries such as the United Kingdom (3,405), Finland (3,374) and Spain (3,072), although it is far below Norway (5,669) and Switzerland (5,643), which both top the ranking. However, as a percentage of GDP, the Basque Country's health expenditure constituted 8.8% in 2011, which places it below surrounding countries.

For further information:

Eustat - Euskal Estatistika Erakundea / Instituto Vasco de Estadística C/ Donostia-San Sebastián, 1 01010 Vitoria-Gasteiz Press Service: Tlf: 945 01 75 62 More press releases on health outlook

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The life expectancy of Basque women is amongst the highest in Europe

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