Israeli life expectancy ranks among world’s highest

With projected lifespan on the rise globally, WHO says people born in Jewish state in 2015 set to live 8th longest on average

Illustrative photo of an elderly couple taking a walk in the Jerusalem Forest. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of an elderly couple taking a walk in the Jerusalem Forest. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

With global life expectancy on the rise, Israelis born in 2015 are projected to live among the longest on average on the planet, according to statistics released Thursday by the World Health Organization.

Global life expectancy increased by five years between the turn of the millennium and 2015, the sharpest increase since the 1960s. There remains significant disparity between wealth nations and poorer ones, with 29 high-income states averaging over 80 years and 22 Sub-Saharan African countries averaging under 60, the UN body said.

Israel ranked eighth overall with 82.5 years on average, coming just behind Italy and Iceland. Japan ranked first overall with an average life expectancy of 83.7 years. The United States had an overall average of 79.3 years.

Israeli men born in 2015 were projected to live fifth longest on average, with 80.6 years, and Israeli women ninth overall with 84.3 years.

The WHO didn’t provide statistics for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Japanese women were expected to live the longest on the planet, with an average lifespan of 86.8 years. Swiss men were projected to outstrip the rest on average, at 81.3 years.

Sierra Leone, in west Africa, held the other end of the spectrum for both sexes, with a mere 50.8 years for women and 49.3 for men.

“The world has made great strides in reducing the needless suffering and premature deaths that arise from preventable and treatable diseases,” Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, said in a statement. “But the gains have been uneven. Supporting countries to move towards universal health coverage based on strong primary care is the best thing we can do to make sure no-one is left behind.”

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