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Life Expectancy Guide

The life expectancy is not the same from country to country. In fact, it is very different from country to country. The drastic range in life expectancy from country to country reveals that various socio-economic factors are at play in determining the life expectancy of any given country. Poorer countries are by and large a lot more likely to suffer a much shorter life expectancy in comparison with richer, Western countries. These countries are generally called developing countries. By contrast, the countries with a longer life expectancy are countries that are developed or first world countries. Life expectancy largely comes down to sanitation standards, healthcare in a country, public safety (freedom from rampant crime or terrorism) and economic growth opportunities.

The country with the lowest life expectancy on the whole planet for 2009 was Swaziland. The average life expectancy in that country was just barely 32 years. One of the biggest reasons that the life expectancy is so pitiful in Swaziland is because it is front and center in the HIV and AIDS pandemic. It is the country that is known for having the highest HIV infection rate among adults, which stands at 26 percent according to the CIA World Factbook, but other reports put the percentage even higher.

Angola has the dubious distinction of being the country in the world with the second-lowest life expectancy on the planet. The average life expectancy for a person in Angola is only 38 years. Unlike Swaziland, the troubles with healthcare in Angola do not have as much to do with the HIV and AIDS pandemic. Instead, people in Angola have to endure low and insufficient niacin status; rabies, malaria and cholera epidemics; and also African hemorrhagic fevers such as Marburg hemorrhagic fever. However, parts of Angola also have fairly high rates of HIV infection.

In contrast with both Swaziland and Angola, Macau was rated as having had the longest life expectancy on the planet back in 2009. The average life expectancy in Macau was 84.4 years. Macau is a relatively small area that is counted as one of the two special administrative regions of China. It has a population of only about half a million people. One of the factors that could be contributing to its high life expectancy is that basic healthcare is provided free of charge; however, there are only two hospitals that serve the whole population in this special administrative region.

Right behind Macau is Andorra with the second-highest life expectancy of any country on the planet. If you live in Andorra, you have a reasonable expectation of living to 82.5 years. Andorra is a tiny and landlocked country that sits in southwestern Europe, and it has a population of only about 84,000. The high life expectancy in Andorra cannot be assumed to be because of healthcare that is run by the Andorran government by way of their social security system called CASS. Residents of Andorra who are not employed have to provide their own healthcare by paying for it through private insurers.

Some of the countries that have been exposed as having the worst life expectancy in 2009 actually had better life expectancy averages in past decades. In the case of Swaziland, which had the worst life expectancy on the whole planet for 2009, the life expectancy in the 1980s was in the mid-50s. In the two decades since the 1980s, Swaziland’s life expectancy has only continued to deteriorate because of the massive HIV and AIDS pandemic in the country, which could be helped, however, by more abstinence programs being taught to residents of Swaziland. By 2004 already, government officials in Swaziland publicly admitted that they had a full-blown AIDS crisis on their hands.

On the other hand, a country like Macau, a special administrative region, actually saw its life expectancy only increase in the same frame of time. From the 1980s to the 2009 statistics that showed it having the longest life expectancy average on the planet, the average life expectancy actually increased by about 10 years. In the 1980s, the average life expectancy in Macau was in the mid-70s. This increase of life expectancy in Macau may have had something to do with China opening up itself to the world more, as it has taken baby steps to embrace capitalism and new foreign investments in the country. This influx of new ideas, technology and more money (resulting in more personal wealth) could have contributed to technology and equipment that worked to extend the lives of the residents of Macau.