Smile, Sabra men. Despite the mandatory military service, threat of war, dangerous roads, endless arguing, and smoggy cities, the life expectancy of Israeli men is the fourth highest in the world, according to the World Health Organization.
World Health Statistics 2014 puts the life expectancy at birth of Israel’s men at 80.2, behind only Iceland (81.2), Switzerland (80.7), and Australia (80.5). Singapore, New Zealand, Italy, Japan, Sweden, and Luxembourg round out the list of leading countries.
Israeli women did not crack the top ten, but in 2012, their life expectancy at birth was 84 years, which today put them in a tie with Portugal, the country with the 10th-highest life expectancy for women.
Japan leads the women’s list with a life expectancy of 87 years, followed by Spain, Switzerland, and Singapore at 85.1 years.
Overall, the global trend is good. A baby boy born in 2012 will have an average life expectancy of 68.1 years, while a girl will have a longevity of 72.7 years. This is an increase in 6 years over a child born in 1990.
Though the life span is far lower in poor countries, the greatest increase was recorded in the developing world. Still, a boy born in a high-income country is expected to live an average of 15 years longer than one born in a low-income country.
Nine countries, all in sub-Saharan Africa, have life expectancies of under 55 years for both sexes.
Child survival rates have improved significantly, the study found. The mortality rate in 2012 was 48 deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to 75 deaths in 2000. Child deaths — due to birth trauma, measles, HIV/AIDS, diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria — all dropped significantly in that time period.
WHO used birth and death certificates, hospital records, surveys, censuses, and research projects to gather information for the study.