Lifestyle & Belief

Are Chinese people living longer? Nation claims average life expectancy is improving


A worker performs a CD4 HIV test at a lab of Shanghai Xuhui District Central Hospital in Shanghai, China, on December 6, 2006.


China photos

Are Chinese people living longer? That's the claim put forth by the government-controlled Xinhua news agency today, which claims that by 2015, Chinese women will be able to expect to live to 75.8, about a year longer than they could expect to persist in 2010.

An earlier report to Xinhua claimed that Chinese people could expect to live to 77 by 2020, according to official government forecasts.

Xinhua claims that public health is improving in China, and a national medical and health care system is currently in the works, which should be implemented by 2015. (Convenient!)

Other plans include encouraging more people to get health insurance, training many more medical professionals, and improving the efficiency of the current medical system.

The Los Angeles Times reports that China's universal health care system plan appears to be on track, and would eventually cover around 90 percent of the Chinese population, bringing it in line with the vast majority of developed countries.

Read more from GlobalPost: Japan loses life expectancy for women title

The new life expectancy stats for China, if they're true, would move it up some in the international life expectancy wars, where it currently stands 73.4 years for women, according to the World Bank.

World Bank figures state the Chinese life expectancy stands at 73.3—that's well below current front-runner Hong Kong, where women can expect to live to 86.7. (The Chinese government states the current life expectancy is 74.83, a little more than the World Bank will cede).

Japan, long the life expectancy world front-runner, lost its title in 2011 due to the deadly tsunami and earthquake, which killed nearly 20,000 people.

The United States, surprisingly enough, doesn't do all that well in the pitiless metrics of life expectancy: according to UN stats and World Bank figures alike, the Western giant comes in at an average female life expectancy of 78 years, behind Chile, Greece, and even Cuba.