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Korea’s life expectancy inches up in 2012: report

The average life expectancy of babies born in 2012 rose slightly from a year earlier, a government report showed Thursday, apparently on improving medical services.

Babies born last year were expected to live an average of 81.4 years, up from 81.2 years tallied in 2011, according to the report by Statistics Korea.

The figure represents a marked increase from just 61.9 years in 1970 and also from 77 years in 2002.

Male babies were expected to live for 77.9 years, up from 77.6 years for those born in 2011. Female babies expected to live an average of 84.6 years, also up from 84.5 years from a year earlier.

The life expectancies for male and female babies are 0.6 and 1.9 years higher than the average for 34 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, according to the report.

The gap between life expectancies of male and female babies stood at 6.7 years, which is in line with the range of the previous year. The gap peaked at 8.4 years in 1985.

The annual report said the possibility of a male baby born in 2012 living past 80 years old stood at only 53.3 percent while that of a female baby was 75.7 percent.

The chance that a newborn could die from cancer in their lifetime stood at 27.6 percent for males and 16.3 percent for females while male and female babies had a 9.4 percent and 12.4 percent chance, respectively, of dying from heart-related diseases. (Yonhap News)
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