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How does American life expectancy compare to that of other countries?

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American life expectancy is 77.9 years. We are tied with South Korea and Denmark for 29th – 31st place, despite being the second wealthiest country on the planet, measured by per capita GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

Japan has the highest life expectancy at 82.3 years.(1)

Based on the general correlation between GDP per capita and health, our average life expectancy “should” be 3 years longer(2).

Even citizens of countries considerably poorer than ours, including Costa Rica, Chile and Greece, live longer on average than we do.


(1) 2007 United Nations Human Development Report, based on 2005 data.
(2) OECD Factbook 2007: Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics.

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