Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences

Document Type : Original Article(s)


National Institute of Population Research, Tehran, Iran



Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant number of deaths in many countries around the world. This study provides an estimate of the effect of the COVID-19 epidemic on life expectancy and years of life lost (YLL) in Iran.
Methods: This study is a secondary data analysis carried out in 2020. Mortality data from COVID-19 were obtained from the Ministry of Health and Medical Education. Since the calculation of mortality rates requires the number of people at risk of death, this data was obtained from the Statistics Center of Iran and was used after a detailed evaluation. The effect of COVID-19 on mortality is evaluated using the techniques of a multi-decrement life table and the corresponding single-reduction life table. The YLL is calculated using the standard method provided by the World Health Organization.
Results: Analysis of mortality data showed that deaths, due to COVID-19, could reduce life expectancy at birth by 1.4 years in 2020. Therefore, life expectancy at birth declined from 75.1 years to 73.7 years. Furthermore, the deaths due to COVID-19 from the outbreak to early February 2021 have caused about 800,000 years of YLL, which is almost as much as the YLL caused by cancers and tumors.
Conclusion: A decrease in life expectancy at birth by more than one year in countries with a life expectancy of over 70 years, such as Iran, can delay the increase in life expectancy for several years.