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What’s the Secret to Long Life Expectancy

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What would you say is the key to living a long life? Is it health, wealth, or happiness? Leading price comparison website Compare the Market has analysed a number of socio-economic factors, such as nutrition, access to information and communications and adult literacy rate against life expectancy to unlock the true keys to living a long life.

The pursuit of happiness

Feeling good and having a positive outlook on life has been argued as one of the reasons to improve not only the quality of your life but the quantity. However, the research by Compare the Market shows that happiness is one of the least correlating factors when it comes to life expectancy.

Out of 20 ranking factors, happiness was ranked 16th for its correlation to how long you can expect to live, with only a 52% correlation. 

With nutrition and medical care having the strongest correlation to life expectancy, Japan tops the leaderboard. The country has been highlighted for its healthy diet, hygiene, and encouragement of exercise among all ages. With an average life expectancy of 85 years old, Japan has some of the best healthcare and nutrition ratings around the world, with research showing that this factor directly affects how long we can expect to live. 

Research also revealed the Central African Republic has one of the lowest scores for both nutrition and medical care, and also access to information and communication. The country has the lowest life expectancy in the world, with the average being around 51 years old. This is related to a number of factors including conflict, displacement of population, and high mortality rates from infectious diseases. 

The keys to a longer life

Five factors that correlate the most to a higher life expectancy:

RankSocioeconomic FactorCorrelation
1Nutrition and medical care+89.53%
2Environmental quality+75.45%
3Access to information and communications+75.05%
4Wealth per capita+74.19%
5Adult literacy rate+71.03%


Not so key to a long life

Out of all 20 factors studied, the following have the least correlation with life expectancy:

RankSocioeconomic FactorCorrelation
19Tolerance of immigrants–0.64%
18Availability of affordable housing+20.84%
17Political rights+51.77%

Dan Hutson, Head of Product–Life Insurance of Compare the Market, explained: “While analysing the data for our Key to Life Index, not only did we find that nutrition and medical care directly affected a nation’s average life expectancy, but we’re also seeing how global warming and harmful emissions have a negative effect on our health and the overall length of our lives.

“It may come as a surprise that happiness is placed as one of the lower ranking keys to a longer life, but the correlation between other basic factors, including access to the internet and wealth, prove that they help to build more fulfilled, longer lives in nations around the world.”

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