Life Expectancy Projected to Increase Worldwide

But predictions for the U.S. could be better.

Posted Mar 20, 2017

Gordon Johnson/
Source: Gordon Johnson/

The good news: Based on projections recently released by researchers and statisticians at the Imperial College London’s School of Public Health, average life expectancy at birth in the year 2030 is expected to increase overall for 35 industrialized countries. The not-so-good news: The United States is among the countries with some of the lowest predicted life expectancy gains for both men and women. Our average life expectancy won't be lower than it is now, but it is not predicted to grow as quickly as other high-income countries.

For women, the highest predicted life expectancy for those born in 2030 is in South Korea, where life expectancy will most likely be higher than the current 86.7 years, with a good probability that it will jump higher than 90 years. After South Korea, the countries with the highest predicted life expectancy for women are France, Japan (which currently has the highest life expectancy for women) and Spain. There are also large projected gains for women in Slovenia, Portugal, and France.

Men in South Korea have a predicted life expectancy higher than 80 years from birth in 2030, and a slight possibility it will reach higher than 85 years, with similar predictions for Australian and Swiss men. Men in Denmark and Ireland are also predicted to experience significant gain.

Unfortunately for Americans, The U.S, along with Mexico, Sweden, Greece, and Macedonia, has one of the lowest predicted average life expectancies for 2030 in the developed countries that were part of this study. American women’s life expectancy at birth for that year is projected to be 83.3 years; men’s 79.5 years. To give that some perspective, however, in the ten year period from 2004 and 2014, life expectancy in the U.S at birth rose 1.1 years for females, from 80.1 to 81.2 years. Life expectancy for men rose 1.4 years, from 75.0 to 76.4 years.

Since these are statistical projections, not absolutes, any number of unknown factors could change the results. And Americans are still gaining years. But life expectancy in the U.S. is already lower and growing slower than most other high-income, developed countries. Why? Possibly, as the researchers point out, it's because we have the highest rates of homicide, child and maternal mortality, and obesity of all the high-income countries in the world, and we don’t have universal health care. 


Kontis V, Bennett JE, Mathers CD, Li G.,  Foreman K, Ezzati M. Future life expectancy in 35 industrialised countries: Projections with a Bayesian model ensemble. The Lancet. Published online February 21, 2007.

Health, United States, 2015. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/CDC/National Center for Health Statistics

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