MADRID, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Spain has the longest life expectancy in the European Union and the third highest in the world, only bettered by Japan and Switzerland, according to a recent report "Life Expectancy in Spain, 2017" published by the Spanish authorities.
The report was published by the Spanish Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Welfare on Tuesday. It showed that Spaniards have an average life expectancy of 83.3 years, with women now expecting to live 86 years, while the average lifespan for men is 80.4 years.
However, according to the report, the average life expectancy of Spaniards actually dropped by 0.1 years between 2016 and 2017, with women seeing a slight fall of 0.2 years in their lifespan.
Nevertheless, the report shows that since 2002 average life expectancy in Spain has gone up by 4.2 years for men and 2.8 years for women.
The Health Ministry explains that the difference in life expectancy between men and women is because men are at greater risk of heart disease and are "more exposed" to risks related to poor diet and smoking.
The ministry also explains that a large part of the increase in life expectancy since the start of the 20th century is due to a large reduction in infant mortality rates.
There is a slight difference in life expectancy in the different regions of Spain, with residents in the region of Madrid now expected to live 85.05 years, compared to 84 years in the Basque region of northern Spain, 83.64 in the Catalan region, while in the southern region of Andalusia life expectancy is 82.08 years.