Costa Rica, Germany and More Countries With a Higher Life Expectancy Than the US

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“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” – that’s the American promise, right? However, when it comes to the “life” part, it seems America has some catching up to do. Despite being a global powerhouse, equipped with all the trappings of a developed nation, the U.S. is sliding down the life expectancy leaderboard, falling behind both its peers and countries with smaller economies.

While life expectancy worldwide decreased in 2020 due to COVID-19, most countries rebounded by 2021. However, the U.S. continued its downward trend.

As a nation celebrated for its technological and medical advancements, it’s surprising that the U.S. now ranks 47th globally regarding how long its citizens are expected to live. The list below ranks the countries with higher life expectancy than the United States, showing the average life expectancy for both sexes. Interestingly, in almost every country, women are outliving men. What’s their secret to a longer life?

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47. United States

Life expectancy: 79.74

Female: 82.23

Male: 77.27

In 2022, healthcare spending in the United States reached $4.5 trillion, averaging $13,493 per person. Yet the country, which once ranked 13th worldwide in life expectancy as of 1950, has seen a rapid decline in its population’s general health and life expectancy. According to a 2022 report by the National Center for Health Statistics, COVID-19, drug overdoses, and accidental injuries were the primary causes for approximately two-thirds of the decrease in life expectancy. 

Despite this decline, the U.S. houses one of the world’s five blue zones — areas with the longest-lived people and the highest life expectancies. Loma Linda in California is the home of a Seventh-day Adventist community of over 9,000 people who tend to live up to 10 years longer than the average American.

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46. Czech Republic

Life expectancy: 79.82

Female: 82.58

Male: 77.02

Doing slightly better than the United States is this Central European country known for its ornate castles, native beers, and rich history. With a population of approximately 10.5 million as of 2023, it reports a life expectancy of 79.82 years. According to WHO data, the leading cause of death in Czechia is Ischemic heart disease, with rates of 300 deaths per 100,000 population for females and 292 for males.

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45. Thailand

Life expectancy: 79.91

Female: 84.08

Male: 75.75

In Thailand—a nation known for its breathtaking tropical beaches and delicious cuisine—the population has reached 71.8 million as of 2024 with a life expectancy that has risen impressively over the past two decades, from 71.3 years in 2000 to 79.91 years in 2023. Ischemic heart disease and stroke top the list of both men and women as the leading cause of death. 

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44. Puerto Rico

Life expectancy: 79.94

Female: 84.04

Male: 75.83

The Caribbean island, an unincorporated U.S. territory with 3.26 million people, enjoys a life expectancy of 79.94 years thanks to a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and seafood, and a pleasant climate.

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43. Costa Rica

Life expectancy: 80.26

Female: 82.66

Male: 77.92

Costa Rica is home to the Nicoya Peninsula, a celebrated blue zone area where an astonishing 900 residents are 90 years old or older. This remarkable longevity is deeply intertwined with the country’s ‘pura vida’ philosophy, which treasures happiness and health above all. While Costa Ricans don’t earn much money, the country’s generous healthcare system contributes significantly to the region’s exceptional longevity. People in the Nicoya Peninsula are about three times more likely to live to 90 compared to those in the United States.

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42. Kuwait

Life expectancy: 80.45

Female: 82.91

Male: 79.09

Sitting on a treasure trove of oil, Kuwait has seen some pretty impressive changes in how long its people live. Thanks to pouring a lot of cash into healthcare and learning all there is to know about medicine, the country’s life expectancy has jumped from 60.4 years back in 1960 to a solid 80.4 years in 2023.

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41. United Arab Emirates

Life expectancy: 80.46

Female: 82.57

Male: 79.02

Back in 1950, the United Arab Emirates was home to just 74,592 people. By 2024, the population had boomed to 9,591,854 — an increase of 12,759.09% in just 73 years. A federation of seven emirates, including Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the UAE is known for its oil wealth, high-quality healthcare, and focus on healthier lifestyles.

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40. Bahrain

Life expectancy: 80.69

Female: 81.92

Male: 79.68

A country island located in the Persian Gulf, Bahrain has a population of around 1.5 million, and boasts an impressive life expectancy of 80 years, thanks in part to its high-quality healthcare system.

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39. Maldives

Life expectancy: 81.07

Female: 82.06

Male: 80.30

It turns out that living in a tropical paradise and munching on fish and coconut guarantees a long and healthy life. The Maldives, home to approximately 521,000 people, boasts a remarkable life expectancy of 81.07 years as of 2023. Situated amidst extensive reefs, blue lagoons, and white-sand beaches, the Maldives offers a diet rich in fish and coconut. This, combined with an active, stress-free lifestyle, contributes to its outstanding life expectancy statistics.

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38. Chile

Life expectancy: 81.16

Female: 83.41

Male: 78.84

Stretching along the west coast of South America, Chile is home to 19,629,590 people, with a life expectancy of a solid 81.16 for both sexes. Chile is the only South American country on this list that ranks high in life expectancy

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37. New Caledonia

Life expectancy: 81.18

Female: 84.74

Male: 77.76

Factors such as access to healthcare, a balanced diet, and an active lifestyle contribute to the longevity of the 280,000 residents of New Caledonia, a French overseas territory located in the South Pacific that is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and diverse culture. 

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36. Taiwan

Life expectancy: 81.47

Female: 84.68

Male: 78.36

Taiwan, an island nation in East Asia, boasts a population of around 23.9 million and a high life expectancy rate. Despite its small size, the island’s cultural emphasis on healthy living, including a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and seafood, further contributes to its impressive longevity statistics. 

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35. Qatar

Life expectancy: 81.73

Female: 83.25

Male: 80.81

Qatar, a small but affluent country on the Arabian Peninsula, is known for its modern infrastructure and high standard of living. With a population of around 2.7 million people, Qatar has the highest life expectancy rate in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, according to WHO data.

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34. Greece

Life expectancy: 82.00

Female: 84.44

Male: 79.58

Greece is another country that is considered less affluent, yet it houses a blue zone region. Located in the Aegean Sea, Ikaria has gained recognition as the island of longevity, where one in three of its residents lives into their 90s. The secret to this remarkable longevity lies in the Mediterranean diet and an active lifestyle, as evidenced by a study conducted by the University of Athens, which found that 80% of Ikarians between the ages of 65 and 100 still maintain an active sex life.

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33. Denmark

Life expectancy: 82.03

Female: 83.92

Male: 80.14

In Denmark, happiness and a long life go hand in hand, with the country consistently ranking among the world’s happiest and boasting an impressive life expectancy of approximately 82.03 years. Denmark also ranks among the countries with the best healthcare system globally, which we can only guess contributes to the high life expectancy. 

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32. Cyprus

Life expectancy: 82.05

Female: 83.81

Male: 80.26

Cyprus, an island nation in the Eastern Mediterranean, offers a blend of ancient history, stunning beaches, and a relaxed lifestyle. With a population of around 1.2 million people, Cyprus enjoys a relatively high life expectancy, due to factors such as a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and olive oil, along with a strong sense of community and family ties.

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31. Germany

Life expectancy: 82.18

Female: 84.44

Male: 79.90

Germany, often on par with the U.S. in terms of GDP per capita, boasts a significantly higher life expectancy of 82.18 years compared to the U.S.’s 77 years. Remarkably, Germany achieves this with lower health spending per capita at $8,011, in contrast to the U.S.’s $12,555.

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30. United Kingdom

Life expectancy: 82.31

Female: 83.97

Male: 80.61

The UK is yet another G7 country that surpasses both Germany and the U.S. in life expectancy, reaching 83 years, while incurring lower health spending per capita at $5,493.

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29. Slovenia

Life expectancy: 82.31

Female: 84.75

Male: 79.86

With a population of 2,119,675, Slovenia is a small yet remarkable country in Central Europe, and is recognized for consistently ranking high on many lists that assess quality of life. Nestled among the Alps, the country offers a tranquil lifestyle, contributing to its relatively high life expectancy. Slovenians prioritize outdoor activities, embracing a culture of health and fitness.

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28. Portugal

Life expectancy: 82.42

Female: 85.06

Male: 79.53

Portugal — a burgeoning haven for American expats and retirees — maintains a high life expectancy despite its lower economic status compared to some European countries. This is largely due to its effective healthcare system and a lifestyle that values community and family. Its diverse geography, from the green North to the sunny Algarve coast, supports a healthy, active lifestyle.

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27. Belgium

Life expectancy: 82.46

Female: 84.50

Male: 80.36

Belgium is yet another country economically comparable to the U.S. that enjoys a higher life expectancy thanks to its exceptional healthcare system, ranked among the best in the world. Moreover, Belgians access these top-quality health services at nearly half the cost Americans face, with health spending at $6,600.

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26. Finland

Life expectancy: 82.52

Female: 85.00

Male: 80.01

Finland has been ranked the world’s happiest country for six consecutive years. So it doesn’t exactly come as a shock that the country’s residents live a long and healthy life, with an average life expectancy reaching 82.52 as of 2023. The Scandinavian country’s comprehensive social welfare system, including outstanding healthcare and education, contributes a lot to its residents’ longevity.

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25. Austria

Life expectancy: 82.57

Female: 84.72

Male: 80.35

Austria boasts a life expectancy of 82.57 years, surpassing the EU average of 80.6 years. This is largely attributed to the robust healthcare coverage that ensures Austrians have exceptional access to medical care, significantly contributing to their overall health and longevity.

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24. Netherlands

Life expectancy: 82.58

Female: 84.02

Male: 81.10

The Netherlands is another country where health spending is half that of the U.S. ($6,729 per capita), yet its citizens enjoy a notably higher life expectancy of 82.58 years compared to the U.S.’s 79.74 years.

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23. Luxembourg

Life expectancy: 82.75

Female: 84.89

Male: 80.64

The tiny European nation boasts a remarkable healthcare system, contributing to a life expectancy two years above the EU average, ranking it fourth-highest in the EU.

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22. Réunion

Life expectancy: 82.78

Female: 85.52

Male: 79.95

A breathtaking island located in the Indian Ocean, Réunion is a French overseas department, and its residents enjoy a remarkable life expectancy of 82.78 years. The island’s high standard of healthcare services, similar to mainland France, contributes to the well-being and life expectancy of its 981,796 residents.

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21. Ireland

Life expectancy: 82.88

Female: 84.54

Male: 81.21

The Emerald Isle has the third fastest-growing population in the EU, along with the highest male life expectancy. With 82.1% of people rating their health as good or very good, Ireland also boasts the highest self-perceived positive health status in the EU. Additionally, the percentage of the population reporting a chronic illness or health problem is approximately 29%, which is also better than the EU average.

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20. Iceland

Life expectancy: 82.96

Female: 84.41

Male: 81.55

The Nordic island nation known for its stunning landscapes is special for another reason: Its people live longer than many countries worldwide. Year after year, with a population of 375,318, Iceland is among the top-ranked countries for life expectancy. Its citizens survive to an average of 83, outliving the citizens of richer and warmer corners of the globe.

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19. Canada

Life expectancy: 83.02

Female: 84.94

Male: 81.07

When it comes to life expectancy and healthcare systems, “the grass is indeed greener” over at the northern neighbor of the U.S. With a population of over 38 million people, Canadians enjoy an average life expectancy of 83 years.

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18. New Zealand

Life expectancy: 83.16

Female: 84.84

Male: 81.43

With a population of around 5 million people, the picturesque island nation in the South Pacific boasts an impressive average life expectancy of 83 years. This longevity reflects the country’s commitment to promoting health and well-being among its citizens through accessible healthcare services, preventative measures, and a strong focus on public health initiatives.

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17. Guadeloupe

Life expectancy: 83.34

Female: 86.43

Male: 79.68

With a population of over 395,000 people, Guadeloupe is another stunning French overseas territory in the Caribbean that enjoys a life expectancy comparable to that of mainland France, averaging around 83 years. It also offers a unique blend of tropical beauty and cultural richness. 

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16. France

Life expectancy: 83.35

Female: 86.08

Male: 80.50

The European powerhouse, with a population of over 67 million people, boasts an impressive life expectancy of around 83 years. This longevity is attributed to France’s comprehensive healthcare system, access to quality medical services, and a lifestyle that values healthy living and balanced nutrition.

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15. Israel

Life expectancy: 83.39

Female: 85.10

Male: 81.59

Israel’s high life expectancy — one of the top worldwide — is attributed to the strong societal fabric, Mediterranean climate and diet, and robust health system. Yet another contributing factor is the mandatory military service, which instills a sense of discipline and fitness in most young Israelis from an early age, thereby contributing to lifelong health benefits.

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14. Martinique

Life expectancy: 83.45

Female: 86.09

Male: 80.44

Martinique, an exquisite overseas region of France nestled in the Caribbean, boasts a population of over 375,000 people and a life expectancy that surpasses that of mainland France, averaging around 83.45 years.

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13. Norway

Life expectancy: 83.55

Female: 85.17

Male: 81.91

For 13 consecutive years, Norway has ranked among the top countries in life expectancy, averaging 83 years. This remarkable longevity owes much to its active lifestyle, Omega-3-rich diet (hello, salmon!), and strong public healthcare system. Additionally, Norway offers excellent educational opportunities, boasting Scandinavia’s lowest unemployment rate at 4.1% and transparent taxation practices, ensuring fair wages. These factors, combined with the country’s stunning fjords and natural beauty, contribute to the long and happy lives of Norwegians.

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12. Sweden

Life expectancy: 83.65

Female: 85.22

Male: 82.08

Swedes enjoy long and fulfilling lives, with life expectancy averaging 83.65, due in part to the country’s commitment to environmental cleanliness and a well-developed healthcare system that delivers high-quality medical care.

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11. French Polynesia

Life expectancy: 83.70

Female: 86.10 

Male: 81.49

As a collection of islands in the South Pacific, French Polynesia benefits from a relatively high standard of living and access to healthcare services, contributing positively to the life expectancy of its inhabitants. The lifestyle, which often includes a diet rich in fresh fish and fruits, alongside an active way of life, plays a significant role in the population’s health outcomes.

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10. Australia

Life expectancy: 83.73

Female: 85.56

Male: 81.89

Australia ranks among the top 10 countries worldwide for life expectancy.  Over the past five decades, the country has experienced significant increases in life expectancy, with males gaining 13.7 years and females gaining 11.2 years. This remarkable progress is attributed to drastic reductions in poverty, improvements in the healthcare system, and enhancements in living standards across the nation.

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9. Malta

Life expectancy: 83.85

Female: 85.83

Male: 81.81

The small island nation in the Mediterranean enjoys a high life expectancy, thanks to factors like its geographical location, healthcare system, and lifestyle. Malta benefits from a mild climate and a diet rich in fresh seafood, fruits, and vegetables, contributing to its population’s overall health and longevity. Efforts in public health and disease prevention have also played a significant role in extending the average lifespan in the country.

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8. Spain

Life expectancy: 84.05

Female: 86.68

Male: 81.35

It turns out sunshine, a Mediterranean diet, and a relaxed lifestyle are the ultimate keys to a long and happy life. At least, this is the case for the 47.42 million Spaniards who enjoy a life expectancy of a solid 84 years.

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7. South Korea

Life expectancy: 84.14

Female: 87.23

Male: 80.83

Once struggling with an average life expectancy of 55 years in 1960, South Korea has witnessed a remarkable turnaround to 84 years as of 2023. This gap is projected to widen, with South Korean women expected to reach an average life expectancy beyond 90 years by 2030. The country’s rapid economic growth, equitable access to healthcare, and significant advancements in combating infant mortality, cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers play pivotal roles

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6. Italy

Life expectancy: 84.20

Female: 86.13

Male: 82.15

Carbs are bad for your health, you say? Well, if you ask the Italians, whose diet is mostly carb-based, that’s the secret to a long life. With an impressive average lifespan of 84.20, Italy is also home to Sardinia, a recognized blue zone region where many residents live well into their 100s.

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5. Singapore

Life expectancy: 84.27

Female: 86.42

Male: 82.13

One of the top five countries with the highest life expectancy in the world, Singapore has recently seen drastic improvements in its living standards, healthcare, and economy, all of which have had a positive impact on its life expectancy.

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4. Switzerland

Life expectancy: 84.38

Female: 86.05

Male: 82.63

The Alps, chocolate, and cheese. Combine this with one of the best healthcare systems in the world and economical stability, and you’ll understand why Switzerland is among the top four countries with high life expectancy.

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3. Japan

Life expectancy: 84.95

Female: 87.97

Male: 81.91

Japan leads the G7 countries with the highest life expectancy at birth. This is largely attributed to the country’s low mortality rates from heart diseases and significantly lower incidences of cancer, particularly breast and prostate cancer. Okinawa, a blue zone recognized region in Japan, is where residents follow the Okinawan diet — low in calories and rich in vegetables, fruits, and omega-3 fats from fish. They practice “Hara Hachi Bu,” eating until they are 80% full, and often live well into their 100s.

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2. Macao

Life expectancy: 85.51

Female: 88.11

Male: 82.88

Macao, a Special Administrative Region of China known for its blend of Portuguese and Chinese cultures and vibrant gambling industry, has recently seen a significant increase in life expectancy. From 1950 to 2024, the average lifespan in Macao surged from 59.8 to 85.6 years, reflecting its development and improvements in healthcare alongside its economic growth driven by tourism.

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1. Hong Kong

Life expectancy: 85.83

Female: 88.66

Male: 83.00

Hong Kong is outliving the rest of the world, with its residents enjoying the highest life expectancy globally. The formula? Accessible health services, widespread physical activity like tai chi in verdant parks, and a diet rich in omega-3s from fish, fruits, and vegetables. This harmonious lifestyle, underpinned by strong community bonds, propels Hong Kong to the forefront of global health and longevity.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.

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