The 10 Countries with the Longest Life Expectancy: An In-depth Exploration

May 31, 2023 | 


Joanna Newman



Life expectancy is a fascinating metric used to gauge the average lifespan of individuals within a specific population, a reflection of the health, wellness, and overall quality of life within a nation. As of my last update in September 2021, the following countries are globally recognized for boasting the longest life expectancies. Each of these nations offers unique insights into what contributes to longevity. Let´s explore these ten countries in greater detail.


Topping the list, Japan has an average life expectancy of 84.63 years. The Japanese longevity secret is multifaceted, encompassing a combination of diet, lifestyle, and healthcare system. The traditional Japanese diet is abundant in fish, rice, vegetables, and fermented foods like miso and natto, contributing to low obesity rates and a reduced risk of heart diseases. Moreover, the cultural concept of "Ikigai," meaning a reason for being, encourages the older population to maintain an active and purposeful life. Lastly, Japan´s healthcare system is among the world´s most effective, providing universal coverage and prioritizing preventive medicine.


Switzerland ranks second, with an average life expectancy of 83.78 years. The country´s wealth, high living standards, and excellent healthcare system play a pivotal role in this achievement. The Swiss diet, rich in dairy products and moderate in meat, contributes to balanced nutrition. The geography of Switzerland also encourages physical activity such as hiking and skiing, promoting a healthier lifestyle. Furthermore, the Swiss healthcare system is recognized for its high-quality care, even though it is one of the most expensive in the world.


Singapore has an average life expectancy of 83.62 years, making it third on the list. The small island nation´s success can be attributed to its robust healthcare system, which focuses on prevention through regular check-ups and screenings. A combination of compulsory health savings, insurance schemes, and government subsidies ensures most residents have access to affordable healthcare. Furthermore, Singapore´s strict regulations on hygiene, sanitation, and urban planning have successfully minimized disease transmission.


Spain, with an average life expectancy of 83.33 years, takes fourth place. A significant contributor is the widely acclaimed Mediterranean diet, high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and olive oil, and moderate in fish and poultry. This diet is linked with lower risks of heart disease and certain cancers. Additionally, the Spanish healthcare system is robust, offering both public and private medical services. Moreover, the Spanish culture emphasizes leisure and family time, which contributes to a lower stress lifestyle.


In fifth place, Italy has an average life expectancy of 83.20 years. Similar to Spain, the traditional Mediterranean diet plays a significant role. Italians consume plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and olive oil, contributing to a lower prevalence of heart disease and obesity. Moreover, the Italian healthcare system is well-respected, offering universal coverage to its citizens. Furthermore, family and social connections are highly valued in Italian culture, fostering a strong sense of community which is known to positively influence health and longevity.


Iceland boasts an average life expectancy of 82.97 years, thanks to its clean environment, active lifestyle, and strong social cohesion. The Icelandic diet is rich in fresh fish, lean meats, and dairy, complemented by the nation´s pure water and air quality. The country´s focus on outdoor activities, such as hiking and swimming, boosts overall physical health. Iceland´s universal healthcare system and social support structures also contribute to the high life expectancy.


With an average life expectancy of 82.97 years, Israel offers an intriguing blend of traditional dietary habits and high-tech healthcare innovations. The Israeli diet is rich in fresh produce, lean proteins, and healthy fats, resembling the Mediterranean diet. Israel´s healthcare system provides universal coverage, with a focus on high-tech diagnostic tools and treatments. A strong sense of community and familial bonds are also common cultural traits that promote psychological well-being.

South Korea

South Korea´s average life expectancy is 82.70 years, attributable to rapid economic development, technological advancements in healthcare, and traditional lifestyle habits. The typical Korean diet, characterized by fermented foods, vegetables, and fish, plays a crucial role. Furthermore, South Korea´s healthcare system provides universal coverage with a focus on preventive care. Regular exercise is also encouraged in Korean society, contributing to a healthier aging population.


Australia´s life expectancy averages 82.59 years, boosted by a high standard of living, a robust healthcare system, and an active outdoor lifestyle. The diet consists of a diverse range of fruits, vegetables, and proteins, supplemented by an active lifestyle involving sports and outdoor activities. Australia´s healthcare system is two-tiered, providing public health services to all citizens and allowing a private system for those who want more comprehensive care.


Sweden, with an average life expectancy of 82.48 years, completes the list. This Scandinavian nation´s longevity secret lies in its excellent healthcare system, active lifestyle, and focus on social equality. The diet leans toward whole foods, fish, lean meats, and berries. Outdoor activities are ingrained in the Swedish lifestyle, and the country´s healthcare system is universally accessible. Furthermore, Sweden has a strong emphasis on social equality and community, which contributes to a lower stress level and better mental health


These ten countries provide valuable insights into the potential keys to longevity: balanced nutrition, active lifestyles, robust healthcare systems, strong community ties, and social equality. While these countries differ in many respects, their shared commitment to these elements underscores a universal truth: the path to longevity is multi-dimensional, intertwining the physical, social, and mental aspects of life. As we look to improve life expectancy worldwide, these nations serve as models for successful strategies in fostering long and healthy lives.