People all over the world are living longer due to improvements in lifestyle standards and better healthcare. The average life expectancy in almost every country has increased over the last several decades, reaching up to about 90 years old in Monaco, according to the CIA World Factbook. Other rankings, such as those by the World Economic Forum (WEF) that look at the general health of populations, provide an understanding into where and why people live the longest.
There are five cities where people live measurably longer lives, popularly known as the Blue Zones. From Ikaria, Greece, to Nicoya, Costa Rica, years of investigative research has helped to identify the daily habits and diets of people who are living to an age of 100 at a rate 10 times greater than in the United States. But these five locales don’t make up the entire list.
In general, the more developed a country is, the longer its residents are expected to live. But climate, diet and life choices are other factors significantly contributing to how many birthdays people get to celebrate. The secrets to longer lives also include healthy and happy social relationships where older people feel appreciated.
So which countries get all that right, and where is becoming a centenarian is hardly news?
Countries Where People Live The Longest
Average life expectancy: 82.97 years. Everything is right in Iceland. People eat simple -- lots of seafood, dairy from grass-fed cows, and locally grown produce with no pesticides. Locals swim a lot. (You would too is you had natural hot springs nearly everywhere you turn). People use them for family fun and to relax. Icelanders also spend much of their time exercising to beat seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which affects many in the winter when there is little sunlight.
Average life expectancy: 82.5 years. The Swiss are some of the happiest people on the planet and they also enjoy one of the most thriving economies in the world. The people are rich, the government is stable, which means little or no conflict, and the healthcare system is regarded as one of the best in the world. Switzerland doesn't have many natural resources so it has chosen to invest in developing people's talents.
Average life expectancy: 82.27. Military service for men is mandatory and almost every time the country is in the news, it's terrorism and nuclear threats. Yet, despite the constant stressful situations, Israelis have longer life expectancy than many other countries. "The Israeli population has developed a mechanism of adapting to the existing stress," according to Ynet News. The longevity has been caused in part by optimism. "When people are optimistic, they have something to live for."
Average life expectancy: 82.15. Aussies may be getting fatter and more anxious, but they're still expected to live a long time. This is due to a new and improved healthcare system and generally high standard of living. Residents are better educated about how to stay healthy and why it's important, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics. "Health literacy, access to services and socio-demographic background are all factors in leading a long, healthy life," said Dr. Steve Hambleton, president of Australian Medical Association.
Average life expectancy: 82.86 years. Hong Kong is a surprise entry to the list. It’s infamous for air pollution, boosted by the more than 7 million people living in close proximity. But medical treatment has gotten better and people are generally very active. Many practice martial arts, such as Tai Chi, their entire lives, which helps with longevity, according to studies. People also prefer steamed food, as opposed to fried, and drink a lot of tea.
Average life expectancy: 84.68 years. Singapore has often been used as an example of how to build a prosperous nation. The city-state’s economy is strong, thus its healthcare system is very efficient. Efforts put into early prevention and detection of chronic diseases, as well as close monitoring by doctors, have paid off. The people of Singapore also follow a healthy diet, eating foods rich in nutrients and antioxidants -- fish, rice and noodles.
Average life expectancy: 82.47 years. The island of Guernsey, which has about 65,000 residents, is very wealthy, and its residents can afford a high quality of life where they eat healthy food, exercise and don't worry much. The healthcare system is excellent (and expensive). Taxes are low and jobs pay very well. Very few are manual labor, which reduces the risk for accidents.
Average life expectancy: 82.72 years. Andorra is a small country in the mountains between France and Spain. The air is cleaner and people are more active because nature is all around and citizens walk and bike often. They also frequently go to the gym, where they participate in exercise classes. Locals eat a lot of lamb, a good source of protein, iron, vitamin B12 and niacin, and consume plenty of dairy products.
Average life expectancy: 83.24 years. The cuisine is Mediterranean -- focusing on fresh and locally grown fruits, vegetables, event pasta, and meat. The country, which is landlocked in Italy, has an advanced agriculture. Employment rates are high, and people don't stress so much over how they are going to pay the mortgage. San Marino produces lots of corn, olives, grapes and wheat.
Average life expectancy: 84.51 years. A lot of the money generated from casinos -- the backbone of the economy -- are invested in healthcare. Macau is also the fourth-wealthiest territory in the world, according to the CIA World Factbook, which means people have more money to spend on good food and healthy lifestyle choices. Strong family relations, typical for Chinese culture, are known to keep people healthier and happier for longer.
Average life expectancy: 89.52 years. Monaco has the highest number of millionaires and billionaires per capita in the world. They can afford to eat healthy, exercise and not stress about everyday issues. Also, rich countries can spend a lot more on healthcare. Monaco’s is state-funded and provides easy access to all citizens. Bordering the Mediterranean Sea, it's not a surprise that the people of Monaco eat a lot of fish, fruits and vegetables.
There are more than 58,000 Japanese who are older than 100, making the country the world’s leader for people who live over 80. All the credit for the longevity is given to a predominantly healthy diet, which includes a lot of fish, rice, tofu, soy, vegetables and small portions. The small island of Okinawa is one of the Blue Zones. People there go on morning walks, take dance lessons or teach karate. They stay active.
More From The Active Times:
-- 17 Healthy Habits That Keep You Young
-- 16 Surprising Habits that Are Aging You
-- 12 "Healthy" Habits You Need to Break Right Now
-- 10 Exercises You Should Do Every Day to Stay Fit for Life