Healthier Lifestyle, Longer Life

Vertex Planning Partners / Resources / August 17, 2023

Life expectancy declines in the U.S., but is rebounding in other countries.

It may still be too early to talk about life expectancy in a post-pandemic world, but it’s been obvious to researchers for years that Americans have a shorter life expectancy than their counterparts in Germany, the United Kingdom, Austria, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Australia, Sweden, Japan, and Switzerland-referred to as “comparable countries” in research studies.

A 2022 report1 by Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker said, “The U.S. has the lowest life expectancy among large, wealthy countries while it far outspends its peers on healthcare.” The average life expectancy in 2021 for those living in the United States was 76.1, compared to 84.5 for those in Japan, and 84 for those in Switzerland. Health spending per capita in 2021, though, was $12,313 in the United States, compared to $4,666 in Japan and $7,179 in Switzerland.

Why is life expectancy low in the U.S., compared to other rich countries?

Even though Americans spend far more on health than other countries,2 there are reasons behind America’s comparatively low life expectancy. They include:

Small steps over time can lead to big outcomes

While there’s not much we can do as individuals to lower the country’s overall death rates and increase life expectancy, we can work to try to improve our own health-and maybe find subtle ways to inspire family members and friends to do the same. Get started with these recommendations from Johns Hopkins Medicine.34

Remember that no one can achieve their health goals overnight, so develop a plan that is right for you, stick to it, and enjoy a longer, healthier life!



1Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker, 12/6/2022: How does U.S. life expectancy compare to other countries?

2Our World in Data, 70/29/2020: Why is life expectancy in the US lower than in other countries?

3Johns Hopkins Medicine: It’s Never Too Late: Five Healthy Steps at Any Age

4Johns Hopkins Medicine: 4 Top Ways to Live Longer


Important Disclosures

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal.

This material was prepared by LPL Financial.