International comparisons show that the average South African will not live longer than 50 years, the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) said.
According to its latest South Africa Survey, the country was one of only six out of a group of 37 developed and developing countries that had a decreasing life expectancy between 1990 and 2007.
"South Africa's life expectancy decreased from 62 years in 1990 to 50 years in 2007," the SAIRR said.
Only Zimbabwe had a worse trend for life expectancy, it said.
KZN has lowest life expectancy
According to the survey, in 2009 average life expectancy at birth for South Africans was 51 years.
Between 2001 and 2006 the life expectancy was 51 years for males, and 55 years for females. "This is expected to decrease between 2006 and 2011 to 48 years for males and 51 years for females," the SAIRR said.
KwaZulu-Natal had the lowest life expectancy at birth in 2009 at 43 years, followed by the Free State and Mpumalanga at 47 years each.
According to the survey, these three provinces also had some of the highest HIV prevalence rates at 16%, 14% and 14% respectively. – (Sapa, November 2009)