The Best and Worst Countries in Terms of Life Expectancy

Discover the Countries with the Highest and Lowest Life Expectancy Numbers

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Simply put, life expectancy is the average period of time that a person may expect to live.

While the concept may be familiar and seemingly simple, the nuances of its calculation are far from it. Life expectancy is actually a statistical measure of how long a person may live based on a multitude of demographic factors like the year they were born, their current age, and even their sex. While in mathematical terms life expectancy refers to the expected number of years of life remaining for an individual at any given age,  expectancy estimates are often given as life expectancy at birth.

 

Life Expectancy Comparisons

Life expectancy figures are perhaps most interesting in relative terms. We might consider how life expectancy has changed over the years or how life expectancies differ between the sexes. Perhaps we are more interested in the differences in life expectancy estimates in different regions or countries, which is where global life expectancies come in.

Here we will look at the trends in life expectancy in countries with the best (highest) and worst (lowest) life expectancies over the last ten years.

Top Ten Countries with Best Life Expectancy: Then and Now

Let's see how global life expectancy figures by country have changed in the years since 2006.

Here are the top ten countries with the longest life expectancies in 2006 and as of 2015.

2006 Top Ten  
RankCountryOverall Life Expectancy (in years)
1Andorra (located in France)83.51
2Macau (located near China)82.19
3San Marino (located in Italy)81.71
4Singapore81.81
5Hong Kong81.59
6Japan81.25
7Sweden80.51
8Switzerland80.51
9Australia80.50
10Guernsey (located in the English Channel)80.42
2015 Top Ten  
RankCountryOverall Life Expectancy (in years)
1Monaco89.52
Japan84.74
3Singapore84.68
4Macau84.51
5San Marino 83.24
6Iceland82.97
7Hong Kong82.86
8Andorra82.72
9Switzerland82.50
10Guernsey82.47

Bottom Ten Countries with Worst Life Expectancy: Then and Now

While the countries with the best life expectancies have seen an overall increase in their numbers, so too have the countries with the worst life expectancies.

Here are the bottom ten countries with the shortest life expectancies in 2006 and as of 2015.

2006 Bottom Ten  
RankCountryOverall Life Expectancy (in years)
1Swaziland32.63
2Botswana33.74
3Lesotho34.40
4Zimbabwe39.29
5Liberia39.65
6Mozambique39.82
7Zambia40.03
8Sierra Leone40.22
9Malawi41.70
10South Africa42.73
2015 Bottom Ten  
RankCountryOverall Life Expectancy (in years)
1Chad49.81
2Guinea-Bissau50.23
3Afghanistan50.87
4Swaziland51.05
5Namibia51.62
6Central African Republic51.81
7Somalia51.96
8Gabon52.04
9Zambia52.15
10Lesotho52.86

Life Expectancies of Other Countries of Interest

Many are surprised by the major countries that don't make the top ten list in terms of highest life expectancies.

Here are the life expectancy numbers for some of those notable countries that didn't make the top ten.

Other Major Countries  
CountryOverall Life Expectancy (2006)Overall Life Expectancy (2015)
Canada80.2281.76
Italy79.8182.12
France79.7381.75
Germany78.8080.57
United Kingdom78.5480.54
United States77.8579.68
Mexico75.4175.65
China72.5875.41
Iraq69.0874.85
Russia67.0870.47

Source

The World Factbook 2013-14. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2013.

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