L’haim

The Life Expectancy of Israeli Men Ranks Fourth Highest in the World

Icelandic men and Japanese women top the list for longevity, says WHO report.

Alex Levac

The average life expectancy of Israeli men is 80.2 years, the fourth highest in the world, after Iceland (81.2), Switzerland (80.7) and Australia (80.5), according to a World Health Organization report published today (Thursday), based on an examination of data from 194 countries. The life expectancy of women in Israel does not appear among the 10 leading countries, but the report indicates that their life expectancy is 84 years and more on average.

The country with the highest average life expectancy among women is Japan - at 87 years. It is followed by Spain, Switzerland and Singapore - with an identical average life expectancy of 85.1 years. The life expectancy of Israeli men is the same as that of men in Singapore, New Zealand and Italy, and is slightly higher than in Japan, Sweden and Luxembourg.

According to the report, people everywhere are living longer. A girl born in 2012 can expect to live to the age of 73, and a boy born that year to the age of 68 - six years longer than a boy born in 1990. According to WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan, “An important reason why global life expectancy has improved so much is that fewer children are dying before their fifth birthday. But there is still a major rich-poor divide: People in high-income countries continue to have a much better chance of living longer than people in low-income countries.”

On the brighter side, low-income countries registered the highest relative increase in life expectancy - an increase of 9 years between 1990 and 2012. The countries with the greatest improvement are Liberia, where average life expectancy soared from 42 in 1990 to 62 in 2012, Ethiopia - from 45 to 64, the Maldives - from 58 to 77, East Timor - from 50 to 66 and Rwanda - from 48 to 65.

At the other end of the spectrum the report cites the south-Saharan African countries, in which low life expectancy for both men and women is the norm. These include Chad, Angola, the Central African Republic, the Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Average life expectancy in all of them is less than 55 years.