When it comes to life expectancy the world is not flat yet
I recently discovered that Google shows Life Expectancy graphs for many countries around the globe.
I assumed a big gap between the developed and the third world countries in their average life expectancy, the data did confirm my assumption, but it become way more apparent when I actually saw it using Google graph.
In Japan, the country with the highest average longevity in the world, based on the World Bank, World Development Indicators data, people lives up to 83 years old.
On the other end of the world, in Afghanistan, the average life expectancy is only 44 years.
It is also very interesting to see the growth rate. In Japan LE grew from 68 to 83 during the years 1960-2008 (~22%) whereas in Afghanistan, LE grew from 31 to 44(~41%) during the same period. Yet, I as you can see from the graph above it is harder to add more years as the average grows.
It is important to monitor the growth rate for each country, as an indicator for improving health condition in each region.
Here is another picture showing more countries and their corresponding Life Expectancy graphs:
Here you can see a huge growth for China during the 60th, and sadly, a huge drop for some troubled areas in Africa mainly due to HIV/AIDS infections. – some hope here.
Finally, average life expectancy does not seem to be totally correlated with financial success as you can see in the next picture for Iceland and Greece two recently troubled economies.
Probably beyond initial crucial conditions, other factors like work life balance, health care system, crime rate, dining habit, and others contribute to the health of the entire population increasing the average life expectancy.
Other source of Life Expectancy data is Wikipedia – List of countries by life expectancy. This page shows data for the years 2005-2010 and the country with the lowest LE average is Swaziland with 39.6 years.
The world is getting more flat over time, but there are still huge gaps between different regions in the world due to lack of basic human needs.