Life Expectancy Around the World: In Which Countries Do People Live Longest?

Of the 50 countries with the highest life expectancy, the U.S. had the lowest improvement in life expectancy between 2000 and 2016, at just 1.6 years.
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Life Expectancy Around the World: In Which Countries Do People Live Longest? Newsweek

Avoid red meat. Eat more vegetables. Don't drink too much alcohol. Exercise for 30 minutes a day. These are the simple lifestyle changes scientists think you should make to increase your life expectancy as much as 12 years in men and 14 in women.

These points are universally true. But in some countries, your life expectancy is severely impacted by factors other than lifestyle alone.

Data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that while the world's life expectancy has greatly improved over the course of the 21st century, we are still far from global equality.

Although Africa saw the greatest gain in life expectancy at 10.4 years, the continent's average lifespan still lags behind the rest of the world, at just 61.2 years. Europe has a life expectancy of 77.5, meaning that on average, Europeans enjoy more than 16 years of extra life than their African counterparts.

Japanese women have the longest life expectancy, living to 87.1 years. Their longevity is generally attributed to their healthy diet of seafood and vegetables, a world-renowned healthcare system, and the higher likelihood of possessing genes that ward off diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Although the U.S makes the top 50 countries with the highest life expectancy, it doesn't perform as well as you might expect. Especially considering the U.S. has the highest GDP in the world, almost 20 percent of which is spent on healthcare.

Of the 50 countries with the highest life expectancy, the U.S. had the lowest improvement in life expectancy between 2000 and 2016, at just 1.6 years. In comparison, the Maldives had the biggest improvement, at 8.7 years.

A report from the BMJ journal in 2018 looked into the lack of improvement in the U.S. They found that substance abuse—particularly related to the opioid epidemic—and a rise in the national suicide rate explain why the U.S. stopped being a world leader in life expectancy.

And with Trump's latest healthcare announcement—encouraging cheap plans that don't meet the Affordable Care Act's requirements and safeguards—it's hard to see how the U.S. health crisis will improve. If only eating more vegetables could solve this one.

This list of the top 50 nations with the longest life expectancy may give the struggling U.S. some pointers towards ensuring the longevity of its citizens. From Albania onwards, these are the countries where you can expect to live the longest.

01 Albania
50. Albania. Life expectancy at birth: Both sexes: 76.4. Male: 74.3. Female: 78.6. Life expectancy (both sexes) in the year 2000: 73.1. Improvement in years: 3.3. How many more years you can expect to live if you are aged 60 in 2016: Both sexes: 20.8. Male: 19.4. Female: 22.3. Getty Images