The Australian Medical Association Limited and state AMA entities comply with the Privacy Act 1988. Please refer to the AMA Privacy Policy to understand our commitment to you and information on how we store and protect your data.



22 Oct 2018

Australia ranks tenth on a list of global life expectancy by 2040, according to recently published new research.

With the average life expectancy of Australians projected to be 84.1 years, the nation sits high on the table, but it is Spain that is predicted to rise to the top by 2040, overtaking Japan’s long-held first ranking.

The study, first published in Lancet, also shows the United States is set to take a dive in the life expectancy stakes to 64th place, down from 43rd in a 2016 study – the biggest drop of all high-income earning countries.

The US will be passed by China, which will jump 29 places to be 39th on the table.

The average global rise of life expectancy is 4.4 years, while Americans will only live an average 1.1 years longer at 79.8 years of age.

According to the study, People in Spain will live for 85.8 years on average by 2040, while the Japanese will live an average of 85.7 year, followed by Singapore (85.4) and Switzerland (85.2).

The United States will take the biggest drop in ranking of all high-income countries, falling from 43rd in 2016 to 64th by 2040, with an average life expectancy of 79.8.

China will rise 29 places to 39th in the table, to reach a life expectancy level of 81.9 years.

Americans will live only 1.1 years longer on average in 2040 compared to 2016, well below the average global rise of 4.4 years over that same period.

A sharp increase in obesity rates and drug related deaths in the US are the main determining factors in its decline in life expectancy.

Diet, disease, and the standard of healthcare are reported to be the major contributors to each nation’s life expectancy ranking, with the Mediterranean diet helping to propel Spain to the top of the list.

It is also considered a factor in neighbouring Portugal’s rise to number five on the list. Portugal has the biggest jump in the top 20, going from 23rd place to number five and adding an average 3.6 years to 84.5.

Researchers found that high blood pressure, high body mass index, high blood sugar, tobacco and alcohol use to be major causes of premature mortalities.

African nation Lesotho has dropped to last place of the 195 countries rated, with a life expectancy of 57.3 years by 2040.

The low ranking of poorer nations points to the inequality in healthcare and sanitation services around the globe.

Lead author of the study, Dr Kyle Foreman of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation noted, however, that the future of the world’s health was not pre-ordained, and there remains a wide range of plausible trajectories.

“Whether we see significant progress or stagnation depends on how well or poorly health systems address key health drivers,” Dr Foreman said.


Top Ten

  1. Spain (85.8 years)
  2. Japan (85.7 years)
  3. Singapore (85.4 years)
  4. Switzerland (85.2 years)
  5. Portugal (84.5 years)
  6. Italy (84.5 years)
  7. Israel (84.4 years)
  8. France (84.3 years)
  9. Luxembourg (84.1 years)
  10. Australia (84.1 years)




Published: 22 Oct 2018