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Germany

Eastern Germans Living Longer

The life expectancy of people in the states of former communist East Germany has risen since reunification and is now comparable to that of their counterparts in the west, a new study said. Despite living in the poorer states of the east, a woman can now expect to live to an average age of just over 81, compared to 76 at the time of German reunification 14 years ago, the Max Planck Institute study found. Men can hope to live an average of almost 75 years compared to just over 69 years in 1990, the demographic study found. Life expectancy has also risen in the west, from an average age of 79 to over 81 for women, and nearly 73 years to about 76 for men. The study's authors put the rise down to developments in medical science and a pension system that offers wider health treatment than before. Unemployment in the eastern states is roughly double that in the west and tens of thousands of people are abandoning the region each year in search of work. (Agence France Presse)