The history of Portugal is quite vast. They are the oldest standing nation in the Iberian Peninsula and all of Europe. The territory has been settled and fought over for centuries, dating back to the pre-historic era. The country was also the first to establish a global maritime and commercial empire. This began in the 15th century and eventually led to securing Brazil in 1500 and adding to their empire. It led to high economic growth as Portugal became a major player in the spice trade. Their vast military and navy helped Portugal to divide the world into hemispheres.
The nation had an empire that stretched across the world from South America to Asia. Yet following the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and Napoleonic Wars, things went downhill for a while. Though the empire is no longer present, more than 250 million people still speak Portuguese today. Of course, they are still doing pretty well with an advanced economy and high living standards. They rank high in peacefulness, press freedom, stability, and social progress. Not to mention their impressive healthcare, with the 12th ranked public health system on the planet.
The Netherlands has not exactly been called the “Netherlands” forever, they were often referred to as Holland. They get the name honestly, as they are 1 meter above sea level in 50% of the territory with 26% below sea level. It consists of 12 provinces, which borders Germany, Belgium, and the North Sea. They have three specialized municipalities in the Caribbean, including Bonaire, Saint Eustatius, and Saba. While they are a monarchy, it is a parliamentary constitutional one, with a unitary structure. The Netherlands has a history of being one of the most socially accepting and tolerant nations on the planet.
They were the first to legalize gay marriage and allowed women to vote as recently as 1919. They also legalized abortion and human euthanasia, as well as prostitution before most nations. That is on top of a very liberal drug policy. The Netherlands also has the 11th highest per capita income globally, and they rank high in both press and economic freedom, human development, and quality of life. Plus, they have the best overall healthcare in Europe, according to the Euro health consumer index. All of this likely allows them to be one of the countries with the best life expectancies.
Some of the world’s most notable events are connected to the country of Greece. Athens was the center of major philosophical thought and medical breakthroughs dating back to the late BCE period. Plus, this nation was the birthplace of democracy, political science, history, theatre, science, and mathematics. Although they were part of numerous massive empires in world history, they stand alone in a small sector of Europe today.
They are now a unitary parliamentary republic. For a while, they had a high-income economy, but several economic woes have now burdened the nation. A debt crisis began in 2010 and began to get better by 2018. However, by this point, their GDP fell dramatically. Yet by 2019, things began to improve and the economy is recovering nicely. Naturally, Greece has a long history of tremendous education and they have a universal healthcare system. Obviously, both allow for long-term success and happiness. It is not shocking that Greece is among the countries with the best life expectancies.
The Kingdom of Norway is yet another Nordic nation that made the list. While this nation does have a King, they are a constitutional monarchy like others you’ve seen here. Norway is well-known for its impressive justice system that works to actually rehabilitate criminals. They are not put behind bars but, rather, isolated with others where they work and learn new skills. This could be why they have one of the lowest crime rates and lowest repeat offender rates on the planet. They also have a major welfare model that includes universal healthcare and a comprehensive social security system.
All of this is possible due to Norway’s tremendous economic connections. The nation has large ownership in the oil, natural gas, minerals, limber, seafood, and freshwater sectors. Oil alone equates to 25% of the country’s GDP. Per capita, Norway is the world’s largest producer of natural gas outside the Middle East. The people enjoy this thriving economy, which has the 4th highest per capita income in the world. Norway also has the largest sovereign wealth fund, which exceeds $1 trillion. It is clear to see why Norway is one of the countries with the best life expectancies.
Our kind neighbors to the north are known for many things. Years ago, both France and England had a major interest in Canada. The Treaty of Paris led to France ceding most of its territories in North America, however. Canada still allowed Montreal to be a French hub for citizens, which is why they speak French there today. Canada operates as its own self-governing body, but they work within the Westminster System. Signed in 1931, the Stature of Westminster allowed all Commonwealth Realms to govern themselves independently.
Yet they still have the British monarch as their head of state. Thus, Canada is a constitutional monarchy with the power to elect a Prime Minister. Canada consistently ranks highly in economic freedom, education, civil liberties, government transparency, and quality of life. Canada also has a top-notch universal healthcare system. Their economy is also booming, currently ranked 10th in the world. This is due to major natural resources and tremendous international trade networks. It’s pretty obvious why Canada is one of the countries with the best life expectancies, right?
For many years, France has continued to grow in population in spite of many lands from its former empires being lost. Their land has been inhabited in some form for centuries, dating back to at least the Paleolithic period. Celtic tribes initially settled the lands, known as Gauls at the time. The land became a big deal to conquer for the Romans in the late BCE period. They’d eventually escape Roman control or influence and by the Middle Ages, they slowly became a major world power. Like other European nations, they also invested heavily in trying to take over many lands in the “new world.”
France is likely involved in some form within most major European wars and many American ones. Their land ownership is smaller today, but they still possess Guadeloupe, Miquelon, Reunion Island, Mayotte, French Polynesia, New Caledonia. Wallis, and Futuna. They are known for their impressive food and art these days, yet they have also been a philosophical and scientific hub. The French economy is booming, ranked 7th in the world by GDP. While healthcare is not free in France, is it split between the person and state. With some options to be paid back at a later date.
Sweden is one of the most beautiful countries you could ever visit. This alone could potentially put them among the countries with the best life expectancies. Yet they manage to do this in other ways. Germanic people settled the land in prehistoric times, eventually going on to become the infamous Vikings we know today. They have managed to stay out of any wars for over 200 years now. The last was in 1814. That has allowed their people to avoid an early death through military means. This nation is a constitutional monarchy, with a parliamentary democracy and legislative power.
Like many in the Nordic culture, they maintain the Nordic welfare system. This offers universal healthcare and free college or trade school for all citizens. Sweden ranks high in quality of life, health, education, gender equality, income equality, and fully protected civil liberties. Their healthcare is top-notch compared to other European nations, with one of the lowest infant mortality rates of them all. Violent crime has been trending down for the last 25 years too. All of this can help a nation land on a list of countries with the best life expectancies easily.
To some, it is surprising to see Israel on this list. Due to the ongoing war with the Palestinian state, one would assume they would see far more life-threatening issues. Of course, Israel used to be far larger than it is today. A lot of what we see now came from years of the state being exchanged in war periods. In fact, British interference seems to be what led to the current unrest between Israel and Palestine. In spite of the ongoing issues, Israel ranks high in several metrics. They happen to have the 31st largest economy on the planet, potentially due to their very powerful allies.
Among all Middle Eastern territories, Israel has the highest standard of living. Most citizens not only have access to free basic education but also go on to achieve the equivalent of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Due to what they have gone through, Israel is a major leader in innovation, research, and development. This crosses over often into healthcare, which is universal for all citizens. It might seem weird to see such major progress in all the controversy, but this is what made them one of the countries with the best life expectancies.
Korean culture has become pretty popular, to a point that even the West has fallen in love with some of it. In the backdrop of all of this is a place that has gone through quite a lot. They have had empires of their own, but the rest of the time they were occupied by either China or Japan. The Soviet Union did this too for a short period. Eventually, things began to change as the United States wanted to have a friend close to both Russia and China. Yet South Korea also needed aid desperately. The Korean War broke out and after it concluded, South Korea’s economy began to boom.
After the June Struggle in the 1980s, SK became fully democratic, which is among the most prolific in Asia. While several SK Presidents have been sentenced to prison due to various issues, the country enjoys the 10th largest economy by GDP. Their technological advancements are impressive, with a tremendous high-speed railway and one of the world’s fastest internet speeds. While they do not have “universal healthcare,” they are able to get it through various means. Allowing more people to be covered. This, plus advancements, has allowed them to be among the countries with the best life expectancies.
The only country on this list that also serves as its own continent, Australia is quite a unique place. Due to when Australia broke apart from Pangea among other continental shifts, Australia became a land of complete uniqueness. Many animals native to Australia are only found there, in the wild at least. Yet people eventually came to the land, wiping out some animal populations over time. Then the English came in, which changed literally everything.
Part of the Commonwealth, Australia has the world’s 12th largest economy, with the 10th highest per capita income. They seem to allow for more immigration than other nations, as immigrants account for up to 30% of their total population. The Aussies rank high in quality of life, education, economic freedom, civil liberties, political rights, and health. Guns were mostly banned here a few decades ago, which brought violent and deadly crime rates down dramatically. This could be why they are one of the countries with the best life expectancies. Yet it could also be their universal healthcare too. Who’s to say?
Spain has had their fingers in a lot of pies around the world. They funded several expeditions to the New World, grabbing land in both American continents. They conquered and ruled landed all over Europe, Asia, and Africa. When the Roman Empire fell, Spain was up for grabs by hungry conquering bodies. By the 16th century, the Kingdom of Spain cropped up and ran through the 19th century. At that time, it was one of the largest empires in world history. A true global powerhouse.
Today, they are a secular parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy. Currently, King Felipe VI is the head of state but other political heads are elected. They have the 14th largest economy on the planet and are well-known for their medical prowess. The World Health Organization ranks its healthcare system as the 7th best in the world. While both public and private healthcare exists, all public healthcare is free to citizens. This is what landed them on our list of the countries with the best life expectancies.
When you discuss world history, it is impossible to cover it without mentioning Italy. The dominating Roman Empire was so impactful that it is even mentioned in holy scriptures. Some of the most well-known historic figures, inventors, artists, scientists, and explorers come from Italy. A lot has changed throughout history here, but in the end, the country still stands as one of the world’s most important nations.
Today, they have one of the best economies on the planet, the 8th largest by GDP. They also have the 6th largest national wealth and the 3rd largest central bank gold reserve. Italy also ranks highly in quality of life, healthcare, and education. While they have some of the best universities in the world, the amount of people attending is below other nations. Regarding healthcare, it has been free for all citizens since 1978. Since 2000, Italy has ranked Top 5 in best healthcare and spent most of that time at the #2 position. This is why they are one of the countries with the best life expectancies.
Most people know Switzerland best for being neutral in world conflicts. The Swiss are great at this, and it’s really tough to invade them too. Those hills and mountain ranges are unforgiving, as Nazi Germany realized the hard way. They do not mind helping others, however. After all, this is the birthplace of the Red Cross. Check out the Swiss flag and Red Cross logo when you get a chance. The educational system in Switzerland is terrific, as it ranks 3rd best on the planet.
Many grow up learning at least 4 languages due to different regions using a specific one. Those languages are Italian, German, French, and Romansh. Several learn English as well. The Swiss are also known for some terrific culinary materials like wine, cheese, and chocolate. They also make amazing watches. This could be why they have the 8th highest per capita GDP. Three of their cities (Zürich, Geneva, and Basel) rank high in quality of life. Oh yeah, and Switzerland provides free universal healthcare for all citizens. Even immigrants can use it within three months of taking up residence here.
Japanese culture and history are incredibly well-known. From the era of the Samauri to the major Japanese Empire overall, all the way to its hunt for oil that cost them terribly during World War I. While an enemy to the West for quite a long time, today, Japan is on good terms with pretty much everyone. They are a beacon of technological, educational, and medical progress that has helped to literally change the planet.
By 1990, Japan had the second-largest economy on the planet. Today, it ranks third by GDP. Obviously, they have businesses connected to several areas. This includes the automotive industry, as well as industries that make televisions, phones, and of course video games/video game systems. They have the seventh-ranked education system and tenth in healthcare. Japan also provides free universal healthcare to not only citizens but any visiting foreigner and immigrant too. It’s pretty obvious to see how they are among the countries with the best life expectancies.
Hong Kong, to us, still operates as a distinct nation unto itself. In spite of the attempts made by China. A lot of this controversy started when many years ago, Great Britain made Hong Kong a British colony. The Qing Empire gave up Hong Kong Island to the British in the mid-1800s. British Hong Kong was then occupied by Japan in the 1940s, but Japan surrendered it. By 1997, the British gave it up to China who then made it a “special administrative region.” Yet they maintained complete control over their governing and economic systems.
China seemed to be fine with this until the last number of years, where they have tried to cause problems. This is due to the economic impressiveness of the region that has become one of the world’s largest commercial ports and financial centers. They offer free trade and low taxes, making it perfect for business. Hong Kong is currently second in global education rankings and eighth in healthcare rankings. Public healthcare is mostly free in Hong Kong, but some stuff requires a small fee. It’s pretty obvious why Hong Kong takes the top spot among countries with the best life expectancies.
We had to cut some countries or territories out due to not meeting our 5 million population quota. Among them were some smaller places like the Channel Islands, Macao, Cyprus, Guadeloupe, Réunion, Puerto Rico, French Guiana, Malta, Qatar, Guam, Maldives, Martinique, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Yet others that are well-known on a global scale also missed the cut like Iceland, Ireland, Slovenia, Singapore, Luxembourg, and New Zealand. While a few of the above nations were close to this 5 million population barrier, we made the rules and decided to stick with them. However, we should say that Macao, Singapore, Channel Islands, and Iceland were in the top ten countries with the best life expectancies list for most sources.
Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources: