New report shows average life expectancy in EU is 80.9 years

The findings of the OECD report show that "health inequalities persist across the EU"

New report shows average life expectancy in EU is 80.9 years

OECD Secretary General Jose Angel Gurría. Picture by Jose Luis Magana AP/Press Association Images

The average life expectancy in the EU is 80.9 years - an increase of around seven years since 1990.

A new OECD report called Health at a Glance: Europe 2016 has highlighted that the life expectancy at birth in EU member states is rising by an average of three months every year.

In Ireland, the life expectancy in 2014 was 81.4 years - or 83.5 for women and 79.3 for men.

The report cites improved health care, healthier lifestyles and better education as some of the reasons behind the increased life expectancy.

It also notes a "marked reduction in mortality from cardiovascular diseases, partciularly among people aged 50 to 65" since 1990.

However, there remains an uneven spread across the countries - from an average of 83.3 years in Spain to 74.5 years in Bulgaria & Latvia.

OECD Secretary-General Jose Angel Gurría said: "Health inequalities persist across the EU. The increase in life expectancy is to be celebrated, but differences remain, both across and within countries. People in Western European countries live, on average, five years longer than those in Central and Eastern Europe.

"Within countries, the most educated live around seven years longer than those with the lowest levels of education. This is a shocking statistic."

He added: "This study is a timely reflection on how to get it right in the EU, on how to improve health spending efficiency, strengthen the prevention and management of different cancers and chronic diseases, and address persistent health inequalities."