The average life expectancy of Chinese women has increased from 73.3 years in 2000 to 74.1 years, according to the National Working Committee for Children and Women under the State Council.
Ahead of Women's Day on Thursday, an official from the committee said that the longer life expectancy was partly due to a lower maternal mortality rate.
In rural areas, about 81 percent of women now give birth in hospitals, a rise of 15.8 percent from 2000. The maternal mortality rate dropped from 53 per 100,000 in 2000 to 47.7 per 100,000 in 2005, according to the committee.
However, the gap between the urban and rural areas is a cause for concern. The maternal mortality rate in rural areas is 2.1 times that of urban areas and the rate in remote areas is 4.1 times that of the relatively developed coastal areas, said the official.
(Xinhua News Agency March 8, 2007)