Canadian women continue to live longer, but life expectancy for men remains stagnant for the third straight year, Statistics Canada reports.
The national statistical agency reported that life expectancy for Canadian men remained unchanged at 79.9 years in 2018. For women, life expectancy ticked higher, increasing from 84.0 to 84.1 years.
Male life expectancy has now been unchanged for three straight years, which represents the longest streak on record, StatsCan said.
“Since Canada started recording information on deaths in 1921, life expectancy has typically increased from one year to the next, both for males and females,” StatsCan said.
The stagnation in male life expectancy isn’t a reflection of the health of older men, but due to an increase in mortality in the 25-to-45 age group that is offsetting a lower probability of dying among all other age groups.
“The increase in mortality among males aged 25 to 45 is likely related to the opioid crisis affecting certain regions of the country,” StatsCan said.
The impact of the opioid crisis on male lifespans is most evident in British Columbia, where life expectancy at birth declined by 0.2 years in 2018 to 79.9 years.
Back in 2015, B.C. had the highest life expectancy for Canadian men at 80.5 years, but it has now declined for three straight years.
Additionally, Ontario experienced a decline in male life expectancy “for the first time in decades,” StatsCan said.
“As in British Columbia, it is likely that this slight decrease in life expectancy is related to the opioid crisis,” StatsCan noted.
Despite the overall stagnation in life expectancy, life expectancy continued to rise for 65-year old men, increasing from 19.3 years in 2017 to 19.4 years in 2018.
For women, life expectancy at age 65 remained stable at 22.1 years.