Wondering what’s the average life expectancy in Singapore (i.e., how long are Singaporeans expected to live)?
We took a look at the data available and found very interesting statistics.
In this article, we’ll cover the average life expectancy for both genders in Singapore, its ranking in the world, how high it is going to be in the future, and why is it so high.
Also, a higher life expectancy may not always be a positive thing, especially if you don’t properly plan for it. There are some actionable steps you can take at the end of this article.
So, read on!
Summary of Key Findings
- The current average life expectancy in Singapore is 83 years
- Life expectancy fell for the first time in 2021 (since data from 1957)
- Male and female life expectancy is 80.7 years and 85.2 years, respectively
- Singapore’s life expectancy is ranked 7th highest in the world
- Life expectancy in Singapore is expected to reach 85.4 years in 2040
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The Source of Our Data
While there were multiple studies done on this topic with varied methodologies, we chose to look at national statistics.
The primary data we looked at comes from the Singapore Department of Statistics.
The department has been publishing comprehensive data on the life expectancy of residents in Singapore since 1960. As of 20 Jul 2023, the latest published data was on 22 May 2023.
The Definition of Life Expectancy
In layman’s terms, life expectancy refers to the average number of years a person can expect to live.
There are two notable ways to derive life expectancy, at birth and at age 65 years.
Life expectancy at birth refers to the number of years a newborn is expected to live. This is what we we’re referring to when we talk about life expectancy.
On the other hand, life expectancy at 65 years refers to the number of years a person who is 65 years old is expected to live.
The focus of this article will be on life expectancy at birth.
5 Statistics on Life Expectancy in Singapore (2023)
Here are some noteworthy facts and statistics on life expectancy.
1) The average life expectancy in Singapore (both genders) is 83 years
|Total Life Expectancy At Birth||72.1||72.5||72.6||73||73.3||73.9||74.2||74.5||74.7||74.9||75.3||75.6||75.9||76.1||76.2||76.3||76.6||76.9||77.3||77.6||78||78.3||78.6||79.1||79.6||80.1||80.3||80.6||80.9||81.4||81.7||81.9||82.1||82.4||82.6||82.9||83||83.2||83.4||83.7||83.7||83.2||83.0|
The life expectancy at birth in Singapore has increased significantly over the years, from 72.5 years in 1981 to 83 years in 2022, an increase of 14.4%. It also means that we’re living 11 years longer now compared with 4 decades ago.
Over the past 10 years (since 2012), life expectancy has increased by 1.1% from 82.1 years.
Interesting fact: looking back at data since 1957, life expectancy has never experienced a decline or stayed the same. However, it was reduced from 83.7 years in 2020 to 83.2 years in 2021, mainly due to COVID-19. It was reduced further in 2022 to 83.0.
It is also noteworthy that from 2019 to 2020, life expectancy stayed the same.
Overall, life expectancy is still on an upwards trend and is expected to rise for decades to come.
2) The average life expectancy of males in Singapore is 80.7 years
|Male Life Expectancy At Birth||69.8||70.1||70.2||70.5||70.9||71.5||72.1||72.5||72.6||72.8||73.1||73.5||73.8||73.9||74.1||74.1||74.4||74.8||75.3||75.6||76||76.3||76.6||76.6||77.1||77.6||77.8||78.1||78.4||78.9||79.2||79.5||79.8||80.1||80.3||80.5||80.7||80.9||81.2||81.4||81.3||80.8||80.7|
The life expectancy at birth for males increased from 70.1 years in 1981 to 80.7 years in 2022, an increase of 15.1%.
When we compare male life expectancy with a decade back (79.8 years in 2012), it increased by 0.9 years.
When compared to last year (80.8 years in 2021), life expectancy decreased. This was also the cause of the decline in total life expectancy (both genders). From 2020 to 2021, life expectancy also decreased from 81.3 years to 80.8 years.
Males are more likely to live shorter lives than females.
3) The average life expectancy of females in Singapore is 85.2 years
|Female Life Expectancy At Birth||74.7||75.2||75.3||75.7||75.8||76.4||76.5||76.7||76.9||77.2||77.6||77.9||78.2||78.3||78.4||78.6||78.9||79.1||79.4||79.6||80||80.3||80.6||81.6||82||82.5||82.6||82.9||83.3||83.7||84||84.1||84.3||84.5||84.8||85.1||85.1||85.4||85.5||85.9||85.9||85.5||85.2|
Females have a longer life expectancy than males, and that hasn’t changed throughout the years. The life expectancy at birth for females increased from 75.2 years in 1981 to 85.2 years in 2022, an increase of 13.3%.
Compared to a decade back (84.3 years in 2012), female life expectancy has increased by 0.9 years.
In 2019 and 2020, life expectancy for females stayed the same at 85.9 years. It started to decline in 2021 and 2022.
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4) Singapore’s life expectancy is ranked 7th in the world
According to other reports, with a combined life expectancy of 84.27 years, Singapore has the 7th highest life expectancy in the world.
And who has the highest life expectancy in the world?
Here’s a list of the top 10 countries:
And these are the countries with the lowest life expectancies:
|4||Central Africa Republic||55.48|
The global average life expectancy is 73.4 years and Singapore is well above that.
5) Life expectancy in Singapore is estimated to reach 85.4 years in 2040
If you think the life expectancy in Singapore is high, know that it’s going to get even higher as it is expected to reach 85.4 years in 2040.
While this may be positive news, the population is, unfortunately, spending more time in ill health. Reasons for this are Singapore’s ageing population and the tendency for the elderly to get sick.
Why is Singapore’s Life Expectancy So High?
Singaporeans are living longer, but why?
Dr Nguyen Minh Ha from Singapore General Hospital explained that one of the reasons is early prevention and detection of chornic diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart diseases. This enables the disease to be controlled well, through receiving long term medications, follow up treatments, and close monitoring.
Furthermore, Singapore’s healthcare system has improved its communication channels between doctors, patients and caregivers, allowing more efficient care to be given.
Another reason is medical advancements, such as improved diagnostic testing and cancer treatments.
For example, new chemotherapy antibodies can be used to treat certain types of cancer and improve outcomes.
The Financial Impacts of a Longer Life Expectancy
Is a higher life expectancy always a good thing?
I would say yes, to a certain extent.
If I’m able to live comfortably, have no ailments (or minor ones) and still maintain my mental faculties, living longer will be great. However, we know that our bodies will eventually deteriorate.
Still, we need to prepare for the days if we do live longer as there are implications.
1) Spending more time in ill health
Although Singaporeans are blessed with long life, they are also spending longer periods in ill health.
From the study, Singaporeans spent 10.6 years in ill health in 2017, which is 1.5 years longer than in 1990.
The study also reported that a person who is born in 2017 should expect to live 12.5% of his life in ill health. This is 11.8% higher compared to a person born in 1990.
The main reason for this is the ageing population in Singapore.
As older folks tend to get illnesses more often than younger ones, and they make up a greater portion of the population, the above figures reflect the current situation.
So to prepare for such scenarios, you would want to ensure sufficient hospitalisation coverage if the need arises.
2) Lower premiums for life insurance
Term insurance has gained popularity over recent years.
If you were to purchase a $1 million term policy 10 years ago, it will be extremely expensive, but it has since become affordable.
This is because the cost of insurance has been decreasing throughout the years.
Why? As the probability of death decreases, the chances of a claim decrease too. So, to make term policies attractive and to remain competitive, they drop the premiums.
This is the reason why a new policy (with the same coverage amount) could be cheaper than an older term plan. Thus, it could make sense to replace/switch an old policy, however, you should take caution especially if you have pre-existing conditions.
3) Cater more for retirement
This is the most obvious scenario.
Let’s say you plan to retire at 65 years old and the expected life expectancy is 80 years, you’ll need to accumulate enough financial assets at age 65 to last for 15 years (at least).
However, if life expectancy increases to 85 years, then, you’ll need to have enough to last for 20 years, an additional 5 more years.
The impact of this is significant.
It will mean that you now need 5 more extra years of savings on hand.
If you think you can continue to work longer to make up for this shortfall, great. But, know that there comes a time when you can’t work anymore, due to illness or old age.
So, if you’re reading this, now is the best time to think about retirement.
When you start early (and even with a smaller budget), it lessens the burden compared with starting later.
Retirement is 100% guaranteed to happen, might as well start doing something about it.
So, there you have it.
We took a greater look into life expectancy in Singapore and saw how it’ll impact our daily lives.
The main takeaway is that life expectancy will still be increasing in the future and so, we need to plan ahead.
Knowing this information will give you an edge over others.
Some action steps you can take are to look at various insurance policies, such as critical illness plans that can help ease the burden of illnesses, especially during our older age, capitalise on the lower cost of insurance with term insurance plans, and learn more about retirement planning in Singapore.