People are living longer thanks to the many medical advances in the past century. Various lifestyle improvements also mean that lots more people have surpassed the life expectancies of their parents and grandparents.
However, there are still significant differences in the average lifespan for citizens in countries around the world. While some people are expected to live to nearly 90 years on average, people in other countries aren’t expected to live much past 50 years on average.
According to research conducted by World Meters, East Asian countries tend to have higher life expectancies, while African countries tend to have some of the lowest life expectancies in the world.
In this article, we’ll look at what can impact life expectancies and how average life expectancies can change over time.
Which country has the highest life expectancy?
Monaco has the highest life expectancy of any country in the world. Citizens of the second-smallest country in the world can expect to live an average of 89.4 years. The country has an area of just 0.81 square miles (2.1 km2) and a population of approximately 36,686 people.
Many citizens in Monaco have large quanties of disposable income, which means they can fund a better quality of life. Citizens have healthy Mediterranean diets, which are rich in seafood, vegetables and fruit. The excellent state-funded healthcare system has also been recognized as one reason for the long life expectancy.
Continue reading to find out which other countries have a high life expectancy, as well as countries that have a lower average life expectancy.
Which countries have a high life expectancy?
Along with Monaco, people living in Singapore and Japan also live exceptionally long lives on average. In Singapore, the average life span is 86.19 years, while Japanese citizens live an average of 84.65 years.
Singapore has impressive chronic disease management, which reduces the number of deaths relating to diabetes, heart disease and poor blood pressure. Cancer and tuberculosis detection has also improved, which has helped reduce the number of fatalities.
The third highest life expectancy average can be found in Japan. The country has been home to three of the ten world’s oldest people, including Jiroemon Kimura, the world’s oldest man ever and Kane Tanaka, the second-oldest living person ever.
Japanese citizens consume a diet that includes lots of seafood and plant-based ingredients. They also tend to eat less red meat and dairy products. This contributes to the low rate of obesity, as do the smaller portion sizes.
The fourth and fifth highest life expectancies are in San Marino and Canada, with average ages of 83.68 and 83.62 years.
As with Monaco, San Marino is a small country with a population size of just over 33,000 in an area of 61.2 km². This allows citizens plenty of room for leisure and outdoor activities. The country also has a strong economy and good healthcare, which help ensure San Marino citizens can lead a happy and healthy lifestyle. The local Mediterranean diet consists of healthy fruit, vegetables, and small portion sizes also reduces health risks associated with obesity.
Canada, though neighbors with the country, has a life expectancy that averages 3.19 years than the living expectancy in the United States. Citizens in the US have a life expectancy of 80.43, which is often attributed to the country’s high rates of obesity.
One of the reasons that is often attributed to the long life expectancy in Canada is the country’s high level of education. It has previously been reported that Canada is the most educated country in the world, with 56.71% of the adult population having completed a two or four-year degree or vocational program.
Education can help improve employment prospects, the political system and even promote equality between genders and social classes.
The table below shows the ten highest life expectancies in the world.
|Rank||Country||Average life expectancy (years)|
What affects a country’s life expectancy?
Wealthier countries generally have better life expectancies than poorer countries. This is largely due to better health systems and a higher standard of living across the board. Countries with a better socioeconomic status usually offer citizens access to better education, housing and sanitation.
Diet is a significant factor in life expectancy. Countries with a higher percentage of healthy eaters (those that avoid fatty and sugary food) tend to have lower rates of obesity and heart conditions. Exercise, smoking and alcohol can all have a major impact on life expectancy too.
The state of a country’s education system can also influence the health system. Countries with an increased percentage of higher education levels are likely to have reduced levels of tobacco use and obesity. More affluent countries give citizens better access to healthier food options and medical treatment.
Why do women live longer than men?
Women usually have a higher life expectancy than men due to several reasons. For one, the male population smokes more than the female population does. Over one-third of the world’s male population smoke, whereas only one in ten women smoke. Smoking can cause many major health issues, such as cancer, strokes and heart disease. As women are less likely to smoke, they are also less likely to contract as many health problems as men who smoke.
Some scientists also believe that estrogen levels in women can help to prevent heart disease. The hormone can help reduce cholesterol, which in turn reduces the risk of blockages forming, which could interfere with blood flow. As men have lower levels of estrogen, they are believed to develop more heart disease.
Various other factors are believed to influence the living expectancy between men and women. Men tend to take more risks than women, which puts them in more danger of car accidents and other life-threatening incidents. Women are also believed to have better immune systems, which helps them fight off infections and diseases.
Have life expectancies improved?
Through improving healthcare, education and living standards, life expectancy has improved worldwide. From 2000 to 2019, the global life expectancy increased by six years from 66.8 years to 73.4 years.
Despite the overall improvements, the COVID-19 pandemic affected many countries’ life expectancies. In the United States, life expectancy at birth has fallen to its lowest level since 1996. The life expectancy age dropped from 77.0 in 2020 to 76.1 in 2021. This was the most significant two-year decline since the change between 1921 and 1923.
However, despite the slight decrease in the past couple of years, life expectancy in the US is still double what it was 200 years ago, largely thanks to improved healthcare and education in the country.
Which country has the lowest life expectancy?
Afghanistan has the lowest average life expectancy at just 53.25 years. The lack of healthcare and rampant poverty are two main factors in this average. The country also has a high maternal mortality rate, as well as a high mortality rate among children under the age of five. Diseases under control in most other countries, such as measles and polio, are also more prevalent in Afghanistan due to the lack of vaccinations.
Nine of the world’s ten lowest life expectancies are found in African countries. This includes the Central African Republic and Somalia, where the average life expectancies are 55.07 and 55.32 years.
One of the reasons that many African countries have low life expectancies is the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Many other diseases and illnesses, such as malaria, diarrhea and respiratory infections, also go untreated due to the lack of healthcare.
Most of the countries on this list also have high infant and maternal mortality rates, which has a major impact on overall life expectancy. By 2030, the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that 390 women for every 100,000 live births will die in childbirth in African countries. This is far higher than the expected global average of 211.
The table below shows the ten lowest life expectancies in the world.
|Rank||Country||Average life expectancy (years)|
|2||Central African Republic||55.07|
Citizens in Monaco have the longest life expectancy in the world, at an average of 89.40 years. This is largely due to the high standard of living in the city-state, including the healthy Mediterranean diets and excellent healthcare.
Other countries with long life expectancy include Singapore and Japan, the latter of which has been home to many of the world’s oldest living people in history.
Many of the world’s lowest life expectancies are in African countries, which is due to widespread poverty and lack of quality healthcare. The lowest life expectancy in the world is in Afghanistan, where citizens have a life expectancy of 53.25 years. This is 36.15 fewer years than the life expectancy in Monaco, 5,228km away.