Life expectancy stood at 85.3 years for females and 79.4 years for males in 2018 – among the highest in the world – but a new government analysis shows a big difference on the quality of life in the final years between males and females.
Women on average in France can expect to live until the age of 64.5 years without suffering any debilitating health problem, while the average age for men living a healthy life is 63.4 years, according to the latest official figures.
Those figures were a slight increase on the previous year, according to the stats from the government’s department of research and statistics evaluation (DREES).
The figures are based on statistics used to draw up the Healthy Life Years indicator (HLY), a Europe-wide structural indicator compiled by the European Union’s statistics body, Eurostat.
The HLY is basically a way to express disability-free life expectancy.
The DREES figures also show that disability-free life expectancy for people in France who have reached the age of 65 in good health has gone up for both men and women over the past decade – by one year and five months for men and one year and two months for women.
The men in this category can expect to live another 10.1 years in good health, while women can expect a further 11.2 years of good health.
But that still means that women, who in general live six years longer than men, are more likely to spend their last years with a major health problem that prevents them living a normal life.
Such figures are often used by politicians or activists who call for the retirement age to be lowered in France from the current 62 years.
“At the moment when you are about to retire, this corresponds statistically with the moment that your first health problems begin,” Adrien Quatennens, a member of parliament from the far-left La France Insoumise party, told RTL radio in August.