Life expectancy in South Africa vs the world

A new report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that global life expectancy increased by five years between 2000 and 2015.

Globally, life expectancy has been improving at a rate of more than 3 years per decade since 1950, with the exception of the 1990s. During that period, progress on life expectancy stalled in Africa because of the rising HIV epidemic; and in Europe because of increased mortality in many ex-Soviet countries following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

According to the WHO, global life expectancy in 2015 was 71.4 years.  Twenty-nine countries have an average life expectancy of 80 years or higher.

On average, women live longer than men in every country of the world and in every WHO region. Overall, female life expectancy is 73.8 years and male life expectancy is 69.1 years.

Life expectancy exceeds 82 years in 12 countries: Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Iceland,
Israel, France and Sweden in the WHO European Region; Japan, Singapore, Australia, and the Republic of Korea in the WHO Western Pacific Region; and Canada in the WHO
Region of the Americas.

At the lower end of the range there are still 22 countries with a life expectancy of below 60 years – all of them in sub-Saharan Africa.

Countries with the highest life expectancy

Rank Country Age
1 Japan
2 Switzerland 83.4
3 Singapore 83.1
4 Australia 82.8
4 Spain
6 Italy
6 Iceland
8 Israel
9 France
9 Sweden
10 Republic of Korea

In Africa, the Maldives tops the list, followed by Algeria, several other North African countries, and a few Island countries.

South Africa is a lowly 24th on the continent; however, an improvement in medical treatment for HIV has seen a dramatic increase in life expectancy over the past decade.

Countries in Africa with the highest life expectancy

Rank Country Age
1 Maldives
2 Algeria 75.6
3 Tunisia 75.3
4 Mauritius 74.6
5 Morocco
6 Cape Verde
7 Seychelles
8 Libya
9 Egypt
10 Sao Tome and Principe
24 South Africa

The countries with the lowest life expediencies are located in Africa, led by Sierra Leone (50.1 years), Angola (52.4), Central African Republic (52.5), Chad (53.1), and Côte d’Ivoire (53.3).

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Life expectancy in South Africa vs the world