The correlation between life expectancy and disaster risk

Shinichi Egawa, Yasuhito Jibiki, Daisuke Sasaki, Yuichi Ono, Yayoi Nakamura, Tomomi Suda, Hiroyuki Sasaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


A healthy community is a community resilient to disaster. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction considers disaster impacts on health and encourages the implementation of disaster medicine and access to mental health services. Life expectancy (LE) is a basic statistic that indicates public health achievements and social development, including the health system, infrastructure, and accurate vital statistics. Thus, we hypothesized that LE corelates with disaster risk and strategies to achieve long LE can help achieving disaster risk reduction. We compared the disaster risk obtained from Index for Risk Management (IN-FORM) with the LE of both genders at birth to identify which component of INFORM risk correlates with LE. A correlation analysis revealed that overall INFORM risk negatively correlated with LE. The natural hazard category did not correlate with LE, but the human hazard category, vulnerability, and lack of coping capacity negatively correlated with LE. In the vulnerability dimension, indicators of socioeconomic vulnerability, health conditions, and children U5 negatively correlated with LE. In the lack of coping capacity dimension, indicators of communication, physical infrastructure, and access to health care negatively correlated with LE. Japan has achieved the longest LE and a low INFORM risk because of its lower vulnerability and reduced lack of coping capacity, including healthrelated indicators. In a cluster analysis of LE and INFORM categories of risk, we divided countries into four clusters and found categories that could be improved. Compared with another global disaster risk index, the Word Risk Index (WRI), the INFORM risk index seems to represent the overall disaster risk better, though they have different aspects of risk evaluation. The WRI is also negatively correlated with LE, supporting our hypothesis. In conclusion, LE is an important indicator of disaster risk and strategies to achieve long LE can be effective and important strategies in disaster risk reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1049-1061
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Disaster Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Nov


  • Coping capacity
  • Disaster risk index
  • Hazard exposure
  • Life expectancy
  • Vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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