For humans, the worldwide average for life expectancy at birth is 71.4 years old. But depending on your country of birth, that number can increase.
Residents of island countries and countries near the coast tend to live longer than residents of landlocked locales. Japan, Italy, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Monaco all have a life expectancy longer than 82 years.
Economically-stable countries with widespread prosperity also tend to assist seniors in living longer.
So, where do people live the longest? That depends on the list and the data it compiles.
Average Life Expectancy
According to data from the Global Health Observatory (GHO), the average life expectancy of the global population was 71.4 years in 2015. This average increases and decreases depending on ethnicity, financial well-being, and gender.
For instance, men live 68 years and six months on average while women live 73 years and six months on average. Women tend to live five years longer than men!
Some studies suggest that 115 years is the maximum human lifespan.
We only live longer in extremely rare cases, such as Jeanne Louise Calment, who holds the Guinness World Record for the oldest person ever. She lived for 122 years and 164 days. She died in 1997.
The International Database on Longevity collects data on anyone who attains an extreme age—usually, 110 years or more. For some countries, the IDL has extended data collection to include younger ages.
Differences in Data
Average life expectancy also increases and decreases depending on our country of birth. Residents of some countries live far longer on average than others.
Life expectancy at birth is a good way to measure the overall quality of life in a country. If residents are living longer, it’s likely because they’re enjoying a prosperous, healthy, active quality of life.
But collecting this data is not always as easy or simple as it might first seem. The researchers and authorities who collect data on where people live the longest can often present different pictures.
Methodologies can differ from study to study, and one organization may include smaller regions than another. Certain data points may also be available to one organization and not another.
As a result, these lists can disagree when attempting to answer the question “where do people live the longest?” Each list still offers an accurate answer formed from validated data.
- Hong Kong: 84.0 years
- Japan: 83.6 years
- Spain: 83.1 years
- Switzerland: 82.8 years
- Italy: 82.7 years
The Central Intelligence Agency’s “The World Factbook” ranked these five regions with the longest life expectancy in the world:
- Monaco: 89.5 years
- Singapore: 85.0 years
- Japan: 85.0 years
- Macau: 84.5 years
- San Marino: 83.8 years
Only Japan appears in the top five spots on both lists.
The Central Intelligence Agency’s list contains 86 more autonomous regions than the World Economic Forum’s list. The CIA list appears to be more comprehensive.
For our purposes, we’ll examine the Central Intelligence Agency’s list of where people live the longest.
Worldwide Life Expectancy
In trying to determine where do people live the longest, let’s take a look around the world.
If these regions are any proof, the secret to living longer is threefold: a healthy diet, an active lifestyle, and financial stability.
Many of the cultures in these countries promote an active lifestyle and good diets. Their proximity to tourism landmarks and fishing waters ensures seniors spend time outside and eating well.
Additionally, these countries tend to enjoy a degree of economic prosperity. Without adequate services and wealth, we have more difficulty taking care of ourselves as we advance in age.
Cultures that honor the elderly and promote a strong family unit also typically rank high in life expectancy.
If you’re interested in relocating to a sunny locale with longer life expectancy, consider one of these incredible locations. In these places, seniors are living a decade or longer than the worldwide average.
#1: Monaco — 89.5 years
The Principality of Monaco is an independent city-state on the coast of France. Monaco is known all over the world for its casinos, mild climate, and scenic landscapes and views. It is one of the biggest tourist hotspots on the globe.
It is the smallest country with a coastline! On the Mediterranean Sea, Monaco offers mild, wet winters and hotter, drier summers. The Mediterranean diet of vegetables, olive oil, and a little wine makes for healthy eating. It has been commended for producing physically and mentally healthy seniors.
#2: Singapore — 85.0 years
The Republic of Singapore is an island city-state south of Malaysia. It is one of the most prosperous countries in the world with one of the busiest ports. On the Singapore Strait, this region offers a tropical climate with typically hot and rainy weather.
Due to the affluence in Singapore, a majority of its residents can live a healthy lifestyle.
As a seaport with a large immigrant population, the cuisine in Singapore draws from a number of influencing cultures. These Chinese, Indonesian, Indian, and Western cuisines. Eating has even been claimed as a national pastime!
#3: Japan — 85.0 years
Japan is one of the major economic powers in the world. It ranked second on the WEF list, and on the Central Intelligence Agency’s list, it practically tied for second place with Singapore.
Surrounded by the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, the country’s climate varies. In the southern regions, it tends to be more tropical. Locals enjoy cooler, more temperate weather in the north.
The Japanese diet consists of fresh fish, vegetables, and low levels of meat and saturated fat.
#4: Macau — 84.5 years
Macau is a subtropical, autonomous region on the southern coast of China. It is officially called the “Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.” Hong Kong, which took first place on the World Economic Forum’s list of where people live the longest, is another autonomous territory in China.
Bordering the South China Sea, Macau’s marine climate offers subtropical weather with cool winters and warm summers. The local cuisine blends southern Chinese traditions with those of Portuguese colonizers. This fish- and fruit-heavy diet is ideal for extending residents’ lives.
#5: San Marino — 83.8 years
Italy ranked fifth in life expectancy on the World Economic Forum list. The Republic of San Marino is a microstate surrounded by Italy.
San Marino is the third smallest state in Europe. It boasts the same Mediterranean climate as the surrounding country of Italy: mild to cool winters and warm, sunny summers. As in Monaco, the olive-oil- and vegetable-heavy diet works wonders for the health of its aging population.
The following video sheds more light on the topic:
Life Expectancy in the United States
When trying to answer the question “where do people live the longest?”, where does the United States stand? According to the Central Intelligence Agency, the average life expectancy in the United States of America amounts to 79.8 years.
Americans tend to eat more unhealthy foods than the other nationalities listed above. Residents of the U.S. also tend not to remain active into their advancing years. And unlike other prosperous nations, the wealth in America tends not to be distributed equitably.
As for the states where people live the longest, Measure of America identified the following states as having an above-average life expectancy:
- Hawaii: 81.3 years
- Minnesota: 81.1 years
- Connecticut: 80.8 years
- California: 80.8 years
- Massachusetts: 80.5 years
As in the worldwide list, a majority of these states boast significant coastlines and residents who enjoy time outdoors.
Hawaii is an island state. California has the third largest coastline in America, behind Alaska and Florida. Minnesota borders Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes in North America. In terms of the U.S. states that make the most income, Connecticut and Massachusetts rank at no. 4 and no. 5 respectively.
The national average of life expectancy in the United States falls short of the best in the world. However, the territories with the longest living residents follow the same patterns as those worldwide.
According to the Gerontology Research Group, the longest living person from the United States of America was Sarah Knauss. Sarah died at the age of 119 years and 97 days in 1999. She lived and died in the state of Pennsylvania, and was once recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest living person.
Sarah was also the second-oldest fully documented person behind Jeanne Calment.
So, where do people live the longest? As should be clear by these lists, we live longest in the parts of the world with large coastlines and healthy diets embedded in the culture. A prosperous economy extends average life expectancy for all residents.
If you’re planning to relocate to one of these vibrant coastlines to revitalize your health, let us know in the comments!