Life Expectancy and Average Human Lifespan: How Long Do People Live?

Our planet earth is the only place in the universe where life exists. Life thrives on earth in all sorts of forms — from single-cell bacteria to the most advanced organism Homo sapiens — that is the human beings. If you think about it, life is indeed a miracle. Every organism wants to live as long as possible for it. But as death is inevitable — people often wonder about the life expectancy of human beings. How long can a man or woman live on average? Questions like what is the human life expectancy of the world? and what is average human lifespan? often become the topics of discussion. In this article we take a look at the answers of these questions.

What is Life Expectancy?

Life expectancy, sometimes referred to as longevity, is a average statistical measure for deducing how long an organism is expected to live. For humans, the life expectancy is calculated by taking into account the current age of the individual and other factors like gender and location. We will discuss these factors in detail a bit later. There are two ways to calculate the life expectancy.

1. Cohort Life Expectancy at Birth (Cohort LEB)

Cohort LEB is calculated from the average life expectancy of individuals born in the same year. Let’s take an example. If we want to calculate the cohort life expectancy at age 69 years in the year 2020, we would calculate it on the basis of mortality rate for age 69 years in 2020.

2. Period Life Expectancy (Period LEB)

Period LEB is the average length of life of a hypothetical cohort assumed to be exposed, from birth through death, to the mortality rates observed at a given year. Period life expectancy tend to be lower than cohort life expectancy, because it does not include any assumptions about future improvements in mortality rates.

Longest Living Humans

The top ten longest living human beings have all been women. The oldest human on record is a French woman named Jeanne Calment who was born on 21 February 1875 and went on to live for an age of 122 years and 164 days. Ms. Calment died on 04 August 1997. Following table shows the details of the top ten oldest people in the world.

Oldest people in the world
Rank Name Gender Birth date Death date Age Country
1 Jeanne Calment Woman 21 February 1875 4 August 1997 122 years, 164 days France
2 Sarah Knauss Woman 24 September 1880 30 December 1999 119 years, 97 days United States
3 Kane Tanaka Woman 2 January 1903 Living 117 years, 308 days Japan
4 Nabi Tajima Woman 4 August 1900 21 April 2018 117 years, 260 days Japan
5 Lucy Hannah Woman 16 July 1875 21 March 1993 117 years, 248 days United States
6 Marie-Louise Meilleur Woman 29 August 1880 16 April 1998 117 years, 230 days Canada
7 Violet Brown Woman 10 March 1900 15 September 2017 117 years, 189 days Jamaica
8 Emma Morano Woman 29 November 1899 15 April 2017 117 years, 137 days Italy
9 Chiyo Miyako Woman 2 May 1901 22 July 2018 117 years, 81 days Japan
10 Misao Okawa Woman 5 March 1898 1 April 2015 117 years, 27 days Japan
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The oldest man in the world was Jiroemon Kimura of Japan. Mr. Kimura was born on 19 April 1897 and he died on 12 June 2013 at the age of 116 years and 54 days.

Factors Affecting Life Expectancy for Humans

Although everyone wants to live as long as possible, external factors have a huge impact on the average lifespan of human beings. In 2020, the average human life expectancy or the average human lifespan is 69.7 years. Following are some of the factors which affect this average.

1. Gender

Statistically, women live considerably longer than men. In most societies, men smoke and drink much more than women. This causes men to die from medical conditions like lung cancer, tuberculosis and cirrhosis. Men are also more likely to die due to wars and battles. Men are also more likely to sustain life-threatening injuries as they hunt for food, work in the fields and factories. These factors outweigh the likelihood of women dying due to conditions like breast cancer, cervical cancer or child-birth.

2. Poverty

Average human lifespan is lower in poorer countries. Wealthier people can afford best of living conditions, including nutritious food and safety. They can also afford state-of-the-art medical facilities. In contrast, poorer people, especially in acute poverty, may fail to acquire food or medical assistance and die prematurely.

Richer countries like USA, Canada, UK and European nations have significantly higher life expectancy than the much poorer nations in Africa.

life expectancy and average human lifespan in countries around the world.

3. Genetics

Scientist have identified several loci in human genome which influence the life expectancy and thus the average human lifespan. A study published in July 2020 suggests that high levels of iron in the blood likely reduce, and genes involved in metabolising iron likely increase healthy years of life in humans.

4. Education

Higher level of education in a society is likely to increase the average lifespan on its individuals. This is partly because of the better income opportunities made possible by the higher education. A more educated society is also more likely to keep itself safe from diseases and conflicts.

5. Diseases

Certain areas in the world have endemic diseases that cause the average lifespan to reduce. Viral diseases, bacterial disease and vector-born diseases may become endemic to a specific area. These diseases periodically appear and kill human beings prematurely.

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Average Human Lifespan in Countries

The average lifespan of human all across the world is 69.7 years.

The following table given the country-wise average human life expectancy, according to the “Human Development Report 2019” by the United Nations.

Country-wise life expectancy of men and women
Countries and regions Overall (years) Female (years) Male (years)
Hong Kong 84.7 87.6 81.8
Japan 84.5 87.5 81.1
Singapore 83.8 85.8 81.5
Italy 83.6 85.5 81.7
Spain 83.4 86.1 80.7
Switzerland 83.4 85.3 81.1
Australia 83.3 85.3 81.3
Iceland 82.9 84.4 81.3
Israel 82.8 84.4 81.1
South Korea 82.8 85.8 79.7
Sweden 82.7 84.4 80.9
France 82.5 85.4 79.6
Malta 82.4 84.1 80.5
Canada 82.3 84.3 80.3
Norway 82.3 84.3 80.3
Greece 82.1 84.5 79.6
Ireland 82.1 83.7 80.4
Luxembourg 82.1 84.2 80
Netherlands 82.1 83.8 80.4
New Zealand 82.1 83.9 80.4
Portugal 81.9 84.7 78.8
Andorra 81.8
Finland 81.7 84.6 78.9
Belgium 81.5 83.8 79.1
Austria 81.4 83.8 79
Germany 81.2 83.6 78.8
Slovenia 81.2 83.9 78.4
United Kingdom 81.2 83 79.5
European Union 81.2 83.8 78.6
Cyprus 80.8 82.9 78.7
Denmark 80.8 82.8 77.8
Liechtenstein 80.5
Costa Rica 80.1 82.7 77.5
Chile 80 82.4 77.6
Czech Republic 79.2 81.8 76.6
Barbados 79.1 80.4 77.7
Lebanon 78.9 80.8 77.1
United States 78.9 81.4 76.3
Cuba 78.6 80.6 76.7
Estonia 78.6 82.4 73.9
Poland 78.5 82.4 74.6
Croatia 78.3 81.5 75.1
Panama 78.3 81.6 75.2
Turkey 78.3 81 75.6
United Arab Emirates 77.8 79.2 77.1
Uruguay 77.8 81.4 74
Oman 77.6 80.1 75.9
Slovakia 77.4 80.8 73.8
Bosnia and Herzegovina 77.3 79.7 74.8
Bahrain 77.2 78.3 76.3
Colombia 77.1 79.9 74.3
Antigua and Barbuda 76.9 78 75.7
Thailand 76.9 80.7 73.2
Ecuador 76.8 79.6 74.1
Montenegro 76.8 79.2 74.3
Sri Lanka 76.8 80.1 73.4
Algeria 76.7 77.9 75.5
Hungary 76.7 80.1 73.1
People’s Republic of China 76.7 79.1 74.5
Argentina 76.5 79.9 73.1
Iran 76.5 77.7 75.4
Morocco 76.5 77.7 75.2
Peru 76.5 79.3 73.8
Tunisia 76.5 78.5 74.5
Malaysia 76.1 78.3 74.2
Saint Lucia 76.1 77.4 74.7
Romania 75.9 79.4 72.5
Serbia 75.8 78.5 73.3
Brazil 75.7 79.4 72
Brunei 75.7 77 74.6
Lithuania 75.7 81.2 70.1
North Macedonia 75.7 77.7 73.7
Kuwait 75.4 76.5 74.7
Latin America and the Caribbean 75.4 78.6 72.3
East Asia , Southeast Asia and Oceania 75.3 77.8 72.9
Vietnam 75.3 79.4 71.2
Latvia 75.2 79.9 70.1
Honduras 75.1 77.4 72.8
Mexico 75 77.8 72.1
Saudi Arabia 75 76.6 73.8
Armenia 74.9 78.4 71.2
Bulgaria 74.9 78.5 71.4
Mauritius 74.9 78.4 71.5
Belarus 74.6 79.4 69.4
Saint Kitts and Nevis 74.6
Belize 74.5 77.7 71.6
Jamaica 74.4 76 72.8
Jordan 74.4 76.2 72.7
Nicaragua 74.3 77.8 70.7
Europe and Central Asia 74.2 77.5 70.8
Guatemala 74.1 76.9 71.1
Paraguay 74.1 76.3 72.2
Dominican Republic 73.9 77.2 70.8
Marshall Islands 73.9
Palestine 73.9 75.6 72.3
Bahamas 73.8 75.9 71.5
Palau 73.7
Georgia 73.6 78 69.2
Trinidad and Tobago 73.4 76.1 70.8
Seychelles 73.3 77.3 69.8
Kazakhstan 73.2 77.3 68.8
Samoa 73.2 75.3 71.2
El Salvador 73.1 77.6 68.2
Azerbaijan 72.9 75.3 70.3
Cabo Verde 72.8 76 69.3
Solomon Islands 72.8 74.7 71.2
Libya 72.7 75.8 69.9
World 72.6 74.9 70.4
Grenada 72.4 74.9 70.1
Russia 72.4 77.6 66.9
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 72.4 75 70.2
Bangladesh 72.3 74.3 70.6
Venezuela 72.1 76.1 68.4
Ukraine 72 76.7 67
Arab States 71.9 73.8 70.2
Egypt 71.8 74.2 69.6
Moldova 71.8 76.1 67.5
Syria 71.8 77.8 66.6
Suriname 71.6 74.9 68.4
Bhutan 71.5 71.8 71.1
Indonesia 71.5 73.7 69.4
Uzbekistan 71.5 73.7 69.4
Kyrgyzstan 71.3 75.5 67.3
Bolivia 71.2 74.2 68.4
Philippines 71.1 75.4 67.1
Tajikistan 70.9 73.2 68.7
Tonga 70.8 72.8 68.9
Iraq 70.5 72.5 68.4
Nepal 70.5 71.9 69
Vanuatu 70.3 72 68.8
Sao Tome and Principe 70.2 72.6 67.8
Guyana 69.8 73 66.8
Mongolia 69.7 74 65.6
South Asia 69.7 71.1 68.5
Cambodia 69.6 71.6 67.3
India 69.4 70.7 68.2
Botswana 69.3 72 66.2
Timor Leste 69.3 71.4 67.3
Rwanda 68.7 70.8 66.5
Kiribati 68.1 72.1 64
Turkmenistan 68.1 71.6 64.6
Federated States of Micronesia 67.8 69.5 66.1
Senegal 67.7 69.6 65.5
Laos 67.6 69.4 65.8
Fiji 67.3 69.2 65.6
Pakistan 67.1 68.1 66.2
Myanmar 66.9 69.9 63.8
Madagascar 66.7 68.3 65.1
Djibouti 66.6 68.8 64.6
Ethiopia 66.2 68.2 64.4
Gabon 66.2 68.9 64.2
Yemen 66.1 67.8 64.4
Eritrea 65.9 68.2 63.8
Sudan 65.1 66.9 63.3
Tanzania 65 66.8 63.2
Mauritania 64.7 66.3 63.1
Afghanistan 64.5 66 63
Congo, Republic of 64.3 65.7 62.8
Papua New Guinea 64.3 65.6 63
Comoros 64.1 65.9 62.4
South Africa 63.9 67.4 60.5
Ghana 63.8 64.9 62.7
Malawi 63.8 66.9 60.7
Haiti 63.7 65.8 61.5
Liberia 63.7 65.1 62.3
Zambia 63.5 66.4 60.5
Namibia 63.4 66.2 60.4
Kenya 63.3 68.7 64
Uganda 63 65.2 60.7
Niger 62 63.2 60.9
Gambia 61.7 63.2 60.4
Benin 61.5 63 59.9
Burkina Faso 61.2 61.9 60.4
Burundi 61.2 63 59.4
Guinea 61.2 61.7 60.5
Sub-Saharan Africa 61.2 62.9 59.4
Zimbabwe 61.2 62.6 59.5
Angola 60.8 63.7 58.1
Togo 60.8 61.6 59.9
Congo, Democratic Republic of the 60.4 61.9 58.9
Mozambique 60.2 63 57.1
Eswatini 59.4 64 55.3
Cameroon 58.9 60.2 57.7
Mali 58.9 59.6 58.1
Equatorial Guinea 58.4 59.6 57.4
Guinea-Bissau 58 59.9 56
South Sudan 57.6 59.1 56.1
Côte d’Ivoire 57.4 58.7 56.3
Nigeria 54.3 55.2 53.5
Sierra Leone 54.3 55.1 53.5
Chad 54 55.4 52.6
Lesotho 53.7 57 50.6
Central African Republic 52.8 55 50.6