> Number of centenarians: 3,700
> Average life expectancy: 81.5
> Annual Health Care Costs as % of GDP: 8.5%
> GDP per capita: $39,918
Despite widespread trends in unhealthy behavior, such as an obesity rate of just under 25%, Australia has an exceptionally high average life expectancy as well as a large number of centenarians. The country manages this while spending the third smallest amount as a percentage of GDP on health among the OECD countries. While the amount of centenarians in the country is the lowest on this list, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the number is expected to double by 2020.
> Number of centenarians: 5,891
> Average life expectancy: 81.5
> Annual Health Care Costs as % of GDP: 9%
> GDP per capita: $32,076
Spain has the highest life expectancy in Europe. The country has a single-payer health care system that is consistently ranked among the best by the World Health Organization. The country’s ageing population is clearly having a powerful economic impact on the system, however, as total expenditure on health per capita is increasing at an annual rate of 8.4%.
> Number of centenarians: 6,530
> Average life expectancy: 81.2
> Annual Health Care Costs as % of GDP: 10.4%
> GDP per capita: $37,808
According to Statistics Canada, the country’s national statistical agency, the senior population, or those 65 and older, will outnumber children 15 years of age or younger for the first time ever sometime between 2015 and 2021. The number of centenarians is expected to triple, and possibly quadruple, by 2036. The country is well known for its publicly funded health care system. It also has one of the longest life expectancies in the world. Nova Scotia has the greatest concentration of centenarians — 21 per 100,000, compared to the national average of 14.6 per 100,000.
> Number of centenarians: 8,839
> Average life expectancy: 79.9
> Annual Health Care Costs as % of GDP: 10.5%
> GDP per capita: $37,567
Germany has a relatively effective health care system. The country spends less on health care than most European nations, and the majority of money that goes into the system comes from premiums paid by workers and employers to insurance companies, not the government. It is a very different way from how many Americans think the European health care systems work. It is effective, however, and only 0.2% of legal German residents are uninsured. The most recent report concerning the number of centenarians in Germany was released in 2006, and the amount has almost certainly increased since.
4. United Kingdom
> Number of centenarians: 11,600
> Average life expectancy: 80.1
> Annual Health Care Costs as % of GDP: 8.7%
> GDP per capita: $35,917
According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics, the number of centenarians in the country has more than quadrupled since 1981, from 2,600 to 11,600 in 2009. By 2034, this number is expected to reach 87,900. In a report, the office attributes the rise in centenarians to “increased survival between the age of 80 and 100, due to an overall improvement in medical treatment, housing and living standards, and nutrition.” Although health care systems differ between Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, each is a public, government-run system. As a whole, the UK government spends one of the greatest amounts on health as a percentage of total expenditure on health compared to all OECD countries.
> Number of centenarians: 16,891
> Average life expectancy: 81.1
> Annual Health Care Costs as % of GDP: 11.2%
> GDP per capita: $33,835
France spends the second greatest amount on health care as a percent of GDP among OECD countries, behind only the U.S. The country also has the greatest number of centenarians among all European countries in the OECD. This is not surprising when considering how much the country spends on the elderly. In 2010, France spent 24.9% of GDP on the elderly — the greatest amount among all OECD countries. According to France’s National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, the number of centenarians in the country may reach 200,000 by 2060.
> Number of centenarians: 44,449
> Average life expectancy: 82.9
> Annual Health Care Costs as % of GDP: 8.1%
> GDP per capita: $32,018
While Japan does not have as many centenarians as the U.S., it has a higher percentage of its population aged 100 years or more. In addition to this, Japan’s average life expectancy of 82.9 years is the longest lifespan among OECD countries. Japan has a highly efficient health care system, as well as a culture that generally promotes good health. For example, only 3.4% of the population is obese. In the U.S., 34% of people are obese. Certain areas of Japan have higher rates of centenarians than others, with Shimane and Okinawa Prefectures having the highest rates.
1. United States
> Number of centenarians: 71,991
> Average life expectancy: 78.7
> Annual Health Care Costs as % of GDP: 16%
> GDP per capita: $45,674
The U.S. currently has the greatest total number of centenarians in the world. This is in part due to the country’s large population and great wealth. The American health care system is, by most accounts, ineffective compared to other OECD countries. Each year, 16% of GDP goes to health care costs. This is the most of any OECD country. The average life expectancy for Americans is among the lower half for OECD countries, and is the shortest among countries on this list. For a certain portion of the population, however, living long is not a problem. According to projections by the Census Bureau, there may be 1.1 million centenarians by 2050 in America alone.
Charles B. Stockdale & Douglas A. McIntyre