Swiss women live longer in general than any other group of men or women — some 79.03 years — according to a new review of average lifespans in 15 major countries with high life expectancies. Most of these nations are in Europe, though Australia, Japan, and the U.S. are also included.
The longevity of Swiss women might have something to do with the fact that Switzerland is considered to have the best health care system in the world.
While the numbers show that women in every country studied live longer, outpacing the men in all 15, even Swiss males do pretty well, averaging 73.7 years. This puts them in third place among men, after Sweden at 74.02 years.
According to the study, conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the Australian National University, the males with the longest potential lifespan are Australians — but they live about five years less on average than Swiss women, at 74.1 years.
About halfway down the list, sharing eighth place in their respective columns, come American women (76.8 years) and men (71.57 years). A recent study showed that life expectancy in the U.S. varies greatly by neighborhood.
Considering the common wisdom about the advantages of a laid-back Mediterranean lifestyle, it was surprising to learn that Italy came in last for women (72.14 years), while Portugal — which shares many characteristics with Mediterranean countries, though it’s on the Atlantic coast — had the lowest life expectancy for men (64.77 years).
The average lifespans computed by the study may differ from other calculations because it’s based on cohort life expectancy (the average years of life remaining at a given age for people born in the same year) instead of another common measure, period life expectancy (based on the risks experienced by different cohorts during a single period of time). Period life expectancy numbers typically underestimate expected lifespans.
As for the United States, with the exception of the last two years, when it dropped largely because of spikes in opioid deaths, life expectancy has generally been increasing, but it varies from region to region. These are the states where people live the longest.