WASHINGTON • In 2016, the US ranked 43rd among 195 nations with an average lifespan of 78.7 years.
By 2040, Americans are forecast to only live 1.1 more years to 79.8, while dropping 21 spots in the global ranking of 195 countries to 64th, as other nations make faster gains, according to recently released data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
The drop in the US is the most for high-income countries. Indeed, life expectancy in the US is expected to be only slightly better than that of Bangladesh, a country with considerably lower income. Yet, Bangladesh will have made a significant stride of having 6.7 more years in average life span by 2040.
The Western Hemisphere as a whole is expected to lose standing in the world as life expectancy in other areas grows at a faster pace.
China, with a lifespan of 76.3 years in 2016, is expected to increase to 81.9, raising its ranking from 68th to 39th in 2040. While China is expected to crack into top 40, Kuwait, Taiwan and Maldives will all drop out of the 40 longest living economies.
In 2040, Spain, 4th ranked in 2016, is expected to take the top spot from Japan. Singapore and Switzerland rounded out the “above 85” club.
“The future of the world’s health is not pre-ordained, and there is a wide range of plausible trajectories,” said Dr Kyle Foreman, director of data science at the University of Washington, and lead author on the study. “But whether we see significant progress or stagnation depends on how well or poorly health systems address key health drivers.”