Drop in life expectancy bucks 50-year trend

Fall in average age of death could be a statistical blip owing to weather conditions, experts warn

The average life expectancy of people living in Spain fell slightly between July 2010 and June 2011 to 81.87 years, eight hundredths lower than in 2010, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE).

Figures for the first six months of 2011 show Spanish men are now expected to live an average of 78.87 years, compared with 78.94 in 2010, and Spanish women 84.82 years, down from 84.91. "Although we are talking about a drop of hundredths, possibly irrelevant in principle, you have to pay attention to the fall, because it breaks an almost 50-year tendency of rises in life expectancy," said demographer Albert Esteve of Barcelona's Autónoma University.

The INE warned against reading too much into the drop saying it could be caused by a weather-related death rate increase.

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