Life Expectancy in Montenegro

Montenegro is a Balkan country that obtained independence from Yugoslavia on June 3, 2006. The data regarding life expectancy in Montenegro attests to its modernization and the continuing integration of the country into the global market system. With the fall of communism and the dissolution of Yugoslavia, improvements in life expectancy outcomes have accompanied the increased prevalence of ills more characteristic of developed countries. Below are the top 10 facts concerning life expectancy in Montenegro.

Top 10 Facts About Life Expectancy in Montenegro

  1. Overall life expectancy has improved slightly. As of 2016, life expectancy in Montenegro reached 76.6 years, an increase from 75.28 in 2010. Women on average live 79.2 years, while men on average live 73.9 years.
  2. Some age groups have undergone mortality rate declines, while others have experienced increases. Males under 1-year-old experienced the largest decline in mortality in 2010, down 65 percent from 1990. In contrast, the most significantly increased mortality rate between 1990 and 2010 shows up among females between ages 35 and 39, constituting an 8 percent increase.
  3. The infant mortality rate has declined significantly since 1969. Infant mortality in Montenegro has been subject to a regular and substantial rate of decrease from 1969 to the present. While in 1969 there were 43.3 deaths per 1,000 live births, this rate has declined to merely 2.55 deaths per 1,000 live births as of 2018.
  4. Efforts are being made to target the leading causes of death and their risk factors. As of 2010, ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and cardiomyopathy constituted the leading causes of death in Montenegro.
    • Between 1990 and 2010, lower respiratory infections declined by 7 percent.
    • High blood pressure remains the principal risk factor for premature death, followed by dietary habits and tobacco consumption.
    • Montenegro’s Law on Food Safety of 21 December 2007 places restrictions on the marketing of such unhealthy foods as play a role in poor health outcomes.
    • The Law on Protection of Consumers of 16 May 2007 prohibits food advertisements that target minors or use minors in promoting products.
  5. In Montenegro, suicides outnumber homicides. The suicide rate remained consistent from the years 2013 to 2015, experiencing only a slight decrease between 2011 and 2012. With 11.07 suicides per 100,000 people in 2015, Montenegro exceeded the global suicide rate average of 9.55 suicides per 100,000 people. When distinguishing by sex, the suicide rate for males numbered 15.03 per 100,000 and for females numbered 7.19 per 100,000, with 4.1 suicides for every homicide. Prior to independence from Serbia, a government initiative successfully reduced the annual suicide rate of the Yugoslav Army (Serb and Montenegrin soldiers) from 13 per 100,000 between 1999 and 2003 down to 5 per 100,000 in 2004. This program, involving the efforts of physicians and psychologists as well as officers, entailed informing soldiers about substance abuse and suicide risk factors, as well as the dismissal of recruits with severe psychological problems.
  6. Obesity is a significant issue. Moderate obesity may reduce one’s life expectancy by three years, while severe obesity may reduce one’s life expectancy by 10 years. Statistics demonstrate that as of 2008, 55.6 percent of the adult Montenegrin population were overweight while 22.5 percent were obese. Men are more likely to be overweight (62 percent) or obese (23.3 percent) than women (49.9 percent and 21.7 percent respectively). In 2015, the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO) issued the 2015 Milan Declaration, of which the Montenegrin chapter of the EASO was a signatory. This declaration proposes treating obesity as a crisis requiring the development of educational, research and clinical care strategies for its reduction at the national level.
  7. HIV is rare in Montenegro. The HIV epidemic has had little impact on Montenegro compared to other countries as only 0.01 percent of the population is infected with the virus as of 2011. Data collected in that year established 128 total HIV cases, 62 total AIDS cases and 32 AIDS-related deaths. Of these, 2011 saw nine new HIV cases, three new AIDS cases, and only one AIDS-linked death. Eight out of nine diagnoses in 2011 were male. No mother-to-infant transmission cases were reported in 2011.
  8. Most Montenegrins have access to an improved water source. Access to potable water sources plays a major role in increasing life expectancy, particularly in reducing the incidence of potentially fatal water-borne diseases. By 2015, 99.7 percent of the Montenegrin population could access an improved water source.
  9. Health care staffing suffers a deficit. Health care comprises 6.8 percent of Montenegro’s GDP, totaling $177 in expenditures per capita. However, as Montenegrin health care services usage exceeds the European average, Montenegro faces an understaffing crisis. This chronic understaffing poses a continued risk of increased patient mortality in medical treatment centers.
  10. Life expectancy in Montenegro may respond to the country’s continuing urbanization. Studies show that residents of urban centers may have longer life expectancies than those in more rural, less developed or remote regions. The rural population of Montenegro declined to 35.78 percent by 2016 compared to 81.21 percent in 1960.

Although centuries of isolation and scarcity have left their legacy, these facts about life expectancy in Montenegro indicate that the country continues along the path of modernization. Overall, these top 10 facts about life expectancy in Montenegro give good cause for optimism regarding the country’s future.

– Philip Daniel Glass
Photo: Flickr