United States life expectancy predicted to fall behind, report says

Leslie Hanson
October 22, 2018

Though Israel now occupies the 13th-place spot at a life expectancy of 82.1 years, Israel is projected to rise to seventh place at 84.4 years.

In 2040, Spain, 4th ranked in 2016, is expected to take the top spot from Japan. The United States, meanwhile, dropped in the global ranking and was overtaken by China.

The U.S. will lag behind that group, with an average life expectancy of 79.8 years, compared to 78.7 in 2016.

Japan will soon lose its long-standing title as the country with the longest life expectancy.

Spain's Mediterranean lifestyle is key to the change, according to the study by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

The remainder of the top 10 will feature Switzerland, Portugal, Italy, Israel, France, Luxembourg, and Australia, according to the study. Spain, CNN reported, is one of several European countries to offer tax-funded healthcare.

China, with a lifespan of 76.3 years in 2016, is expected to increase to 81.9, raising its ranking from 68th to 39th in 2040. Those living in the USA will live only 1.1 years longer on average by 2040, CNN explained, while, on average, other countries will see their life expectancy rise 4.4 years over the same period.

But, while Spain and other nations are rising in life expectancy rankings, the United States is plummeting.

In 2016, the US ranked 43rd among 195 nations with an average lifespan of 78.7 years.

It showed that Nigeria's life expectancy could increase by as much as 14.2 years in a better health scenario or as little as 5.1 years in a worse health scenario. Rounding out the rest of the bottom is the Central African Republic with a life expectancy of 58.4, Zimbabwe with 61.3 and Somalia with 63.6. For example, they incorporated information about rates of cancer, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS.

The top five health drivers that explain most of the future trajectory for premature mortality are high blood pressure, high body mass index, high blood sugar, tobacco use, and alcohol use, Foreman said. Though other risks, such as unsafe water and child malnutrition, are expected to decrease, the overall life expectancy will go up more slowly than before.

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