CHOOSE LIFE

US citizens lose half a decade in lifespan versus people born in rich European and Asian countries

The US ranks a dismal 34th place for life expectancy in the World Economic Forum’s highly-anticipated Global Competitiveness Report. However, people living in major financial centers in Europe and Asia, such as Hong Kong or Switzerland, can expect to live longer.

Every year, the WEF releases its Global Competitiveness Report, which aims to be one of the most in-depth looks into the financial health and risks of nearly 140 countries around the world. The WEF looks at 114 indicators that “capture concepts that matter for productivity and long-term prosperity.” The report is assembled from a large variety of sources. Those include data from local sources, a survey of 13,000 business executives, as well as info from respectable institutions like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and World Health Organization, to determine scores.

One of the rankings is the amount of years a person being born in a given country can expect to live, determined by the World Bank and national sources. In the US, the average person lives for 78.7 years—nearly 6 years less than the top ranking area, Hong Kong.

Country Life expectancy (years)
Hong Kong 84.3
Japan 83.8
Italy 83.5
Spain 83.4
Switzerland 83.2
Iceland 82.9
France 82.7
Singapore 82.6
Sweden 82.6
Australia 82.5

According to WEF’s overall ranking, taking into account off indicators in the report, the US is the second-most competitive country in the world, after Switzerland—its highest ranking in eight years. But while it has improved in areas such as infrastructure and market size, it has yet to drastically improve “basic requirements,” like primary education and health.

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