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Countries with the best life expectancy

  • Countries with the best life expectancy

    People live notably longer in some parts of the world, and research suggests that diet, climate, social class, and overall happiness play a significant role in boosting lifespan.

    While Japan has been at the top of the life expectancy list for several years, research published in October 2018 by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation suggests that Spain may overtake Japan's life expectancy by 2040. Analysis from Bloomberg's 2019 Healthiest Country Index also revealed Spain to be #1 out of 169 countries in terms of factors contributing to overall health.

    After analyzing life expectancy data from the World Health Organization's World Health Statistics 2019 report and total population data for each country from the United Nations' World Population Prospects 2019 report, Stacker ranked each country by life expectancy. In the event of a tie, countries with lower under-five mortality rates were favored.

    WHO's annual report compiles life expectancy data and health-related sustainable development goals to determine life spans in each country. In total, 194 countries were included in WHO's 2019 report, but only 181 of these countries were ranked and analyzed since 13 had no life expectancy data.

    The total population for each country was taken from the United Nations' Population Division—World Population Prospects 2019. The report released in 2019 involves data from 2016. However, data concerning the percent of government spending going to public health come from 2014, data involving maternal mortality ratios come from 2015, and data involving under-five mortality rates come from 2017.

    While no countries on this list have reached supercentenarian status in terms of life expectancy, many nations seem to be getting closer to seeing more of their citizens live to 100 years old.

    Click through to find out more about the top 50 countries with the best life expectancy.

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  • #50. Albania

    - Life expectancy: 76.4 years
    - Under-five mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 8.8 (#123 highest of all countries)
    - Maternal mortality ratio (per 100,000 live births): 29 (#111 highest)
    - Road traffic mortality rate (per 100,000 people): 15.8 (#113 highest)
    - Mortality rate attributed to household and ambient air pollution (per 100,000 people): 68 (#91 highest)
    - Percent of government spending going to public health: 9.4% (#121 highest)
    - Total population: 2.89 million

    As the very last country on the list, Albania remains vulnerable to lower life expectancy, with air pollution cutting up to 1.3 years off the lives of its citizens, according to a U.N. report. However, the Albanian Ministry of Health and Social Protection governs the country's health care services, which offer equal access to all citizens regardless of their socioeconomic status. Additionally, the World Bank reports that the country's development in the past three decades has provided more sustainable resources for healthy living.

  • #49. Ecuador

    - Life expectancy: 76.5 years
    - Under-five mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 14.5 (#102 highest of all countries)
    - Maternal mortality ratio (per 100,000 live births): 64 (#84 highest)
    - Road traffic mortality rate (per 100,000 people): 31.4 (#53 highest)
    - Mortality rate attributed to household and ambient air pollution (per 100,000 people): 25 (#147 highest)
    - Percent of government spending going to public health: 10.2% (#106 highest)
    - Total population: 16.49 million

    Since 1990, the lifespan of women has slowly usurped that of men, with women living on average four years longer than men. The Pan American Health Organization reports that the country's National Plan for Good Living has many health policies and objectives that may increase life expectancy.

  • #48. Mexico

    - Life expectancy: 76.6 years
    - Under-five mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 13.4 (#107 highest of all countries)
    - Maternal mortality ratio (per 100,000 live births): 38 (#103 highest)
    - Road traffic mortality rate (per 100,000 people): 15.8 (#112 highest)
    - Mortality rate attributed to household and ambient air pollution (per 100,000 people): 37 (#131 highest)
    - Percent of government spending going to public health: 11.6% (#86 highest)
    - Total population: 123.33 million

    The Borgen Project reports 10 facts about Mexico's life expectancy, including the fact that citizens are likely to live to 79 by 2050. The longer life expectancy south of the border is directly related to the Seguro Popular, a new health-care system. Before the start of the program, initiated by the World Bank in 2004, only half of Mexicans had health care.

     

  • #47. Montenegro

    - Life expectancy: 76.8 years
    - Under-five mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 3.5 (#165 highest of all countries)
    - Maternal mortality ratio (per 100,000 live births): 7 (#155 highest)
    - Road traffic mortality rate (per 100,000 people): 10.1 (#132 highest)
    - Mortality rate attributed to household and ambient air pollution (per 100,000 people): 79 (#79 highest)
    - Percent of government spending going to public health: 9.8% (#114 highest)
    - Total population: 627,000

    The Balkan country's efforts to curb obesity with positive food marketing campaigns for children is helping Montenegro youth live longer. Additionally, as one of Europe's fastest-growing economies, precisely because of the country's famous mountain and coastal tourism, Montenegro is making more money to further develop services for citizens to stay healthy and live longer. Clean drinking water, immunizations, and the 2003 launch of “Health Care for All in the XXI Century” have also aided in the country's long life expectancy.

  • #46. Argentina

    - Life expectancy: 76.9 years
    - Under-five mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 10.4 (#117 highest of all countries)
    - Maternal mortality ratio (per 100,000 live births): 52 (#92 highest)
    - Road traffic mortality rate (per 100,000 people): 17.5 (#106 highest)
    - Mortality rate attributed to household and ambient air pollution (per 100,000 people): 27 (#143 highest)
    - Percent of government spending going to public health: 6.9% (#147 highest)
    - Total population: 43.51 million

    The South American country has a distinct dichotomy in health among its regions, with children from the Tierra del Fuego region living at least four years longer than a Chaco child. The Pan American Health Organization details while the country's health-care expenditure is above the regional average, “a human development agenda must be established to overcome the social determinants associated with poverty,” which significantly affect life expectancy.

  • #45. Oman

    - Life expectancy: 77 years
    - Under-five mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 11.3 (#114 highest of all countries)
    - Maternal mortality ratio (per 100,000 live births): 17 (#127 highest)
    - Road traffic mortality rate (per 100,000 people): 32.0 (#50 highest)
    - Mortality rate attributed to household and ambient air pollution (per 100,000 people): 54 (#109 highest)
    - Percent of government spending going to public health: 6.8% (#151 highest)
    - Total population: 4.48 million

    Greater access to medical offices and hospitals has extended the life of Omanis more than 25 years in four decades, according to the Oxford Business Group. In 1970, citizens of the Arab country only lived to 49.3 years with Oman maintaining two hospitals, and by 2016, life expectancy reached 76 with the region sustaining 69 hospitals.

  • #44. Uruguay

    - Life expectancy: 77.1 years
    - Under-five mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 8.2 (#126 highest of all countries)
    - Maternal mortality ratio (per 100,000 live births): 15 (#131 highest)
    - Road traffic mortality rate (per 100,000 people): 17.1 (#107 highest)
    - Mortality rate attributed to household and ambient air pollution (per 100,000 people): 18 (#157 highest)
    - Percent of government spending going to public health: 20.8% (#9 highest)
    - Total population: 3.42 million

    The United Nations Children's Fund confirms that the maternal mortality ratio declined by 44% from 1990 to 2015, which added to Uruguayans' life expectancy over 25 years. The country's under-five mortality rate had also seen a significant decline from 23 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 8.2 per 1,000 live births in 2017.

  • #43. United Arab Emirates

    - Life expectancy: 77.2 years
    - Under-five mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 9.1 (#121 highest of all countries)
    - Maternal mortality ratio (per 100,000 live births): 6 (#160 highest)
    - Road traffic mortality rate (per 100,000 people): 16.5 (#109 highest)
    - Mortality rate attributed to household and ambient air pollution (per 100,000 people): 55 (#107 highest)
    - Percent of government spending going to public health: 8.7% (#129 highest)
    - Total population: 9.36 million

    The WHO reports several factors are keeping the United Arab Emirates (UAE) citizens healthier, including implementing a soft drink tax to screening for noncommunicable diseases. Additionally, Vision 2021, a government health plan to reduce lifestyle-related infections and national funded healthcare have UAE residents living just past 77 years old.

  • #42. Bosnia and Herzegovina

    - Life expectancy: 77.3 years
    - Under-five mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 5.7 (#142 highest of all countries)
    - Maternal mortality ratio (per 100,000 live births): 11 (#138 highest)
    - Road traffic mortality rate (per 100,000 people): 16.3 (#110 highest)
    - Mortality rate attributed to household and ambient air pollution (per 100,000 people): 80 (#77 highest)
    - Percent of government spending going to public health: 14.1% (#51 highest)
    - Total population: 3.39 million

    Like many countries listed, life expectancy by gender differs in the region, with women in Bosnia and Herzegovina living on average up to 79.56 years and men to 74.55 in 2017. The country on the Balkan Peninsula also sees longer lives due to the deep decline in maternal mortality rates from 1990 to 2015.

  • #41. Slovakia

    - Life expectancy: 77.4 years
    - Under-five mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 5.6 (#144 highest of all countries)
    - Maternal mortality ratio (per 100,000 live births): 6 (#160 highest)
    - Road traffic mortality rate (per 100,000 people): 7.7 (#147 highest)
    - Mortality rate attributed to household and ambient air pollution (per 100,000 people): 34 (#135 highest)
    - Percent of government spending going to public health: 15% (#39 highest)
    - Total population: 5.44 million

    Though the landlocked region has a 77.4-year life expectancy, growing more than three years between 2000 and 2015, it is shorter than other European Union countries by four years, according to the Slovak Spectator. A large portion of life expectancy gains in the last 19 years is due to the decline in mortality rates for residents older than 65. The leading cause of death in Slovakia regardless of life expectancy is cardiovascular disease.

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