Average Life Expectancy in Post-Communist Countries—Progress Varies 25 Years after Communism


A little more than 25 years after the fall of communism, post-communist states have achieved divergent results in their qualities of life.

This chart, part of an upcoming study by Simeon Djankov and Owen Hauck, shows that former Soviet states continue to lag behind Eastern European and Balkan states in life expectancy.1 Turkmenistan, a former Soviet state, has the lowest life expectancy of the 29 countries that compose the three groups,2 at just over 64 years. Slovenia, a nation of just over 2 million on the Adriatic Sea (Eastern European group), has a life expectancy of 80 years, putting it ahead of the United States.

The study on the experiences of post-communist economies will explore why and how these divergences have developed.


1. Data are from the World Bank's World Development Indicators.

2. The Balkans group comprises Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Albania (the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1989 until 2007, and thereafter separately Serbia and Montenegro). Former Soviet states include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Eastern Europe includes Croatia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia (from 1989 to 1992) and separately Slovakia and the Czech Republic from 1992 to 2013.

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