The Life Expectancy and GDP of Six Countries over 15 Years

This research is going to investigate the correlation between GDP and life expectancy at birth in six countries: Chile, China, Germany, Mexico, the United States of America and Zimbabwe.

Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary measure of the market value or the market value of all the final goods and services produced and sold in a specific time by a country or countries, generally “without double counting the intermediate goods and services used up to produce them”.

Life expectancy at birth is defined as how long, on average, a newborn can expect to live, if current death rates do not change.

The dataset of GDP used here is from the world bank and the dataset of life expectancy is from World Health Organization.

Further research conducted is the reason China’s GDP increased so drastically in the past 10 years.

The chart below shows the life expectancy distribution by country.

From the chart, the lowest life expectancy was falling into Zimbabwe, which also has the greatest improvement among these 6 countries. And the highest one is in Germany.

The scatter plots illustrate GDP as a function of life expectancy by country.

From the figure, the GDP of China has increased at an impressive speed and the life expectancy in Zimbabwe has also increased significantly over 15 years.

The figure below shows the change in life expectancy by country.

From the figure, the life expectancy in Zimbabwe changes the most, especially in 2007, it has increased at a large acceleration. In contrast, Mexico has had the least change in life expectancy over time.

One of the reasons the life expectancy in Zimbabwe has increased is the introduction of ARVs. Factors that are contributing to the increase in life expectancy include the declining HIV prevalence and several coordinated socio-economic interventions involving scaling up of early infant diagnosis and access to paediatric ARVs treatment. This has now seen a gradual rise in life expectancy.

The figure below shows the change in GDP by country.

From the charts, Zimbabwe has the lowest GDP whereas the United States of America has the highest.

The research found when GDP is at a low level, it will influence the life expectancy in a specific region. Factors of the lowest life expectancy in Zimbabwe is extreme poverty include: the severe contraction of the economy; a doubling of the percentage of the population living in poverty; organized violence perpetrated by the government; the breakdown of basic services; the erosion of the country’s economic foundation and the massive emigration of professionals. However, once an economy has reached a certain level, it won’t be a decisive factor in life expectancy. For instance, among six countries in research, the United States of America has the largest GDP while it has a lower life expectancy compared to Germany.

Various factors stimulate the economic growth of China in the past 10 years, the research will refer to two of them: launching economic reform and entering the World Trade Organization.

With the former, the measures of economic reform are extensive and include agriculture, industry, trade and foreign investment, services and government finances. These measures made China widely seen as an engine of world and regional growth. After three decades of reform, China’s economy experienced one of the world’s biggest booms.

With the latter, in 2001, China entered the WTO. This introduced market competition and foreign investment and technology. Not long after, the private sector grew remarkably, accounting for as much as 70 per cent of China’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2005.

In the research, there exist some limitations of the data, the data just contain 6 countries. It may not be enough to generate a reliable conclusion about the correlation between GDP and life expectancy in a specific region. A larger number of the datasets could be introduced in further research.