Healthiest Countries 2022

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While a variety of factors contribute to the health of a country's people, the residents of developed countries tend to be healthier overall than those of developing countries, and especially the least developed countries. Developed countries offer a higher quality of life, including lower pollution rates; better infrastructure such as roads and utilities; and greater access to quality health care, strong education, good jobs, nutritious food, and safe drinking water. Unsurprisingly, these countries also often rank among the Happiest Countries in the World.

On the other hand, unhealthy countries often lack adequate access to these same benefits. Residents often lack the education required to land decent-paying jobs, which are often rare anyway. Pollution may be high, leading to health problems, illnesses, and death. Even fundamentals that many of us take for granted, such as clean water and proper roads, may be scarce. The life expectancy of the residents of these countries is often lower than average, while infant mortality is higher. These countries are clearly less healthy. This trend can be seen in the Health section of the United Nations' Human Development Index, or in other health-focused metrics, including those explored on this page.

What does "health" mean to an entire country?

In looking at the various systems for ranking national health, it quickly becomes clear that the definition of "healthy" varies from one source to the next. For example, the Bloomberg Global Health Index is a broadly-based measure that evaluates the personal health of a nation's people in a general, all-encompassing sense. By comparison, the similarly named Global Health Security Index focuses tightly on a nation's capacity to fight disease, and as such arrives at a completely different set of rankings. Both systems are measuring "health" but have their own unique interpretations of the term. Moreover, other systems may think of "health" in economic terms such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or in terms of national safety or some other qualification. It is important to keep these factors in mind when comparing one set of global rankings with another.

The Bloomberg Global Health Index

One metric specifically designed to measure national health is the Bloomberg Global Health Index. This metric examines many factors, including the following:

  • Health risks (tobacco use, high blood pressure, obesity)
  • Availability of clean water
  • Average life expectancy
  • Malnutrition
  • Causes of death

According to the 2019 ranking, Spain's overall score of 92.75 qualified it as the healthiest country in the world. For comparison, the United States ranked 35th, with an overall score of 75. Spain boasts a life expectancy of 83.5 years, which is expected to rise to 85.8 by 2040 and be the highest in the world. Spaniards eat a Mediterranean diet filled with healthy fats and legumes, fruits and vegetables, and less red meat and processed food. Spain has the highest percentage of walkers in Europe, with 37% of people walking to work instead of driving (only 6% of Americans walk to work). Additionally, Spain’s universal healthcare program is very successful and has lowered the country's rate of preventable deaths to 45.4 preventable deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.

The Top 25 Healthiest Countries in the World (Bloomberg Global Health Index 2019):

Rank Country Score Rank Country Score
1 Spain 92.75
2 Italy 91.59 14 Finland 85.89
3 Iceland 91.44 15 Netherlands 85.86
4 Japan 91.38 16 Canada 85.70
5 Switzerland 90.93 17 South Korea 85.41
6 Sweden 90.24 18 New Zealand 85.06
7 Australia 89,75 19 United Kingdom 84.28
8 Singapore 89.29 20 Ireland 84.06
9 Norway 89.09 21 Cyprus 83.58
10 Israel 88.15 22 Portugal 83.10
11 Luxembourg 87.39 23 Germany 83.06
12 France 86.94 24 Slovenia 82.72
13 Austria 86.30 25 Denmark 82.69

The Global Health Security Index

In contrast to the Bloomberg index, the Global Health Security Index focuses tightly upon a nation's ability to maintain the well-being of its citizens during a pandemic or other extreme biological event. The index evaluates each country by assessing its performance in 37 different indicators, which are then combined to give each country a score between 1-100 in each of six general categories:

  1. Prevention — Prevention of the emergence or release of pathogens
  2. Detection and Reporting — Early detection and reporting for epidemics of potential international concern
  3. Rapid Response — Rapid response to and mitigation of the spread of an epidemic
  4. Health System — Sufficient and robust health system to treat the sick and protect health workers
  5. Compliance with International Norms — Compliance with international norms — Commitments to improving national capacity, financing plans to address gaps, and adhering to global norms
  6. Risk Environment — Overall risk environment and country vulnerability to biological threats.

These per-category scores are then merged into a single value: the country's overall Global Health Index (GHI) score. That GHI is compared to the GHI of other nations to rank the healthiest (and unhealthiest) countries in the world. The 2021 index was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the report stated that while many countries were able to develop responses to COVID-19, none thus far have taken adequate steps to prevent future pandemics.

Top 10 Healthiest Countries in the World (2021 Global Health Security Index):

  1. United States — 75.9
  2. Australia — 71.1
  3. Finland — 70.9
  4. Canada — 69.8
  5. Thailand — 68.2
  6. Slovenia — 67.8
  7. United Kingdom — 67.2
  8. Germany — 65.5
  9. South Korea — 65.4
  10. Sweden — 64.9

While the United States may not be the healthiest country in a general sense (national obesity is a particular area of concern)—and in fact, the country's COVID-19 response has drawn criticism in many circles—the U.S.A.'s massive capacity to research, communicate, and respond to a pandemic-level threat was enough to place it in the top spot. The United States ranked first in a wide range of indicators, including biosecurity, biosafety, epidemiology workforce, capacity to test and approve new countermeasures, communication with healthcare workers, and more.

The Money Index

The UK website Money offered its own healthiest places to live rankings in 2021. Compared to some of the more complex metrics available, the Money index is based on six simple (but far-reaching) factors:

  1. Life expectancy
  2. Cost to be healthy
  3. Air pollution
  4. Obesity rates
  5. Safety
  6. Sunlight hours

The Top 20 Healthiest Countries in the World (Money UK Index 2021):

Rank Country Rank Country Rank Country Rank Country
1 Spain 6 Italy 11 Slovenia 16 Denmark
2 Portugal 7 Sweden 12 Finland 17 Poland
3 Switzerland 8 Norway 13 Ireland 18 Germany
4 Japan 9 Singapore 14 France 19 Cyprus
5 Iceland 10 Austria 15 Estonia 20 England

Healthiest and least healthy continents in the world

European countries (particularly those of Northern Europe) tend to appear near the top of most "healthiest countries" lists, establishing Europe as the healthiest continent on Earth. On the other hand, the countries of Africa typically dominate the lower spots. In fact, 27 of the bottom 30 spots on Bloomberg's 2019 list belonged to African nations. This is largely because Africa's Sub-Saharan is home to several nations that are not only the poorest countries in Africa but also the poorest in the world. Many of these countries have trouble supplying even basic needs such as clean water and adequate health care, and several are at war or engaged in armed conflict, which further complicates any attempt to improve national health.

Healthiest Countries 2022

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Healthiest Countries 2022

Country Bloomberg Global Health Index Global Health Security Index Money UK Rank 2022 Population
Spain92.7560.9146,719,142
Italy91.5951.9660,262,770
Iceland91.4448.55345,393
Japan91.3860.54125,584,838
Switzerland90.9358.838,773,637
Sweden90.2464.9710,218,971
Australia89.7571.1--26,068,792
Singapore89.2957.495,943,546
Norway89.0960.285,511,370
Israel88.1547.2--8,922,892
Luxembourg87.3948.4--642,371
France86.9461.91465,584,518
Austria86.3056.9109,066,710
Finland85.8970.9125,554,960
Netherlands85.8664.7--17,211,447
Cameroon85.7028.6--27,911,548
South Korea85.4165.4--51,329,899
United Kingdom84.2867.22068,497,907
Ireland84.0655.3135,020,199
Cyprus83.5841.9191,223,387
Portugal83.1054.7210,140,570
Germany83.0665.51883,883,596
Slovenia82.7267.8112,078,034
Denmark82.6964.4165,834,950
Greece82.2951.5--10,316,637
Malta81.7040.2--444,033
Belgium80.4659.3--11,668,278
Czech Republic77.5952.8--10,736,784
Cuba74.6630.5--11,305,652
Croatia73.3648.8--4,059,286
Estonia73.3255.5151,321,910
Costa Rica73.2140.8--5,182,354
Chile73.2156.2--19,250,195
United States73.0275.9--334,805,269
Bahrain72.3136.6--1,783,983
Qatar71.9748.7--2,979,915
Maldives70.9532--540,985
Lebanon70.5333.4--6,684,849
Poland70.2555.71737,739,785
Montenegro69.6944.1--627,950
Bosnia And Herzegovina69.6635.4--3,249,317
Albania68.0445--2,866,374
Brunei67.9643.5--445,431
United Arab Emirates67.1439.6--10,081,785
Uruguay65.6640.3--3,496,016
Hungary64.4354.4--9,606,259
Oman64.0739.1--5,323,993
Panama64.0153.5--4,446,964
Turkey62.8150--85,561,976
China62.5247.5--1,448,471,400
Mexico62.0957--131,562,772
Argentina61.1954.4--46,010,234
Serbia60.9945--8,653,016
Niue--20.1--1,622
Nauru--18--10,903
Tuvalu--20--12,066
Cook Islands--23.9--17,571
Palau--25.5--18,233
San Marino--32.9--34,085
Liechtenstein--46.4--38,387
Monaco--33.3--39,783
Saint Kitts And Nevis--31.7--53,871
Marshall Islands--24.6--60,057
Dominica--26.4--72,344
Andorra--34.7--77,463
Seychelles--31.8--99,426
Antigua And Barbuda--30--99,509
Tonga--26.4--107,749
Saint Vincent And the Grenadines--33.5--111,551
Grenada--26.7--113,475
Micronesia--28.5--117,489
Kiribati--26.2--123,419
Saint Lucia--34.7--185,113
Samoa--28.8--202,239
Sao Tome And Principe--26.6--227,679
Barbados--34.9--288,023
Vanuatu--25.9--321,832
Bahamas--30.1--400,516
Belize--29.7--412,190
Suriname--35--596,831
Solomon Islands--23.3--721,159
Bhutan--39.8--787,941
Guyana--30.8--794,045
Comoros--24.9--907,419
Fiji--25.8--909,466
Djibouti--25.2--1,016,097
Eswatini--29.3--1,184,817
Mauritius--39.7--1,274,727
Timor Leste--27.8--1,369,429
Trinidad And Tobago--36.8--1,406,585
Equatorial Guinea--17.4--1,496,662
Latvia--61.9--1,848,837
North Macedonia--42.2--2,081,304
Lesotho--30.9--2,175,699
Gabon--21.8--2,331,533
Botswana--33.6--2,441,162
Gambia--28.7--2,558,482
Namibia--30.3--2,633,874
Lithuania--59.5--2,661,708
Armenia--61.8--2,971,966
Jamaica--31.8--2,985,094
Mongolia--41--3,378,078
Eritrea--21.4--3,662,244
Georgia--52.6--3,968,738
Moldova--41--4,013,171
Kuwait--36.8--4,380,326
New Zealand--62.5--4,898,203
Mauritania--26.2--4,901,981
Central African Republic--18.6--5,016,678
Liberia--35.7--5,305,117
Slovakia--54.4--5,460,193
Republic of the Congo--26.3--5,797,805
Turkmenistan--31.9--6,201,943
El Salvador--40.8--6,550,389
Kyrgyzstan--42.4--6,728,271
Nicaragua--36.3--6,779,100
Bulgaria--59.9--6,844,597
Libya--25.3--7,040,745
Paraguay--40.3--7,305,843
Laos--34.8--7,481,023
Sierra Leone--32.7--8,306,436
Togo--27.8--8,680,837
Papua New Guinea--25--9,292,169
Belarus--43.9--9,432,800
Tajikistan--29.3--9,957,464
Honduras--26.2--10,221,247
Azerbaijan--34.7--10,300,205
Jordan--42.8--10,300,869
Dominican Republic--34.5--11,056,370
Haiti--30.4--11,680,283
Bolivia--29.9--11,992,656
Tunisia--31.5--12,046,656
Burundi--22.1--12,624,840
Benin--25.4--12,784,726
Rwanda--33.1--13,600,464
Guinea--26.8--13,865,691
Zimbabwe--32.4--15,331,428
Somalia--16--16,841,795
Cambodia--31.1--17,168,639
Chad--23.9--17,413,580
Senegal--32.8--17,653,671
Ecuador--50.8--18,113,361
Guatemala--29.1--18,584,039
Romania--45.7--19,031,335
Kazakhstan--46.1--19,205,043
Syria--16.7--19,364,809
Zambia--26.5--19,470,234
Malawi--28.5--20,180,839
Mali--29--21,473,764
Sri Lanka--34.1--21,575,842
Burkina Faso--29.8--22,102,838
North Korea--16.1--25,990,679
Niger--28.7--26,083,660
Ivory Coast--31.2--27,742,298
Madagascar--30.4--29,178,077
Venezuela--20.9--29,266,991
Nepal--34--30,225,582
Yemen--16.1--31,154,867
Ghana--34.3--32,395,450
Mozambique--30.4--33,089,461
Malaysia--56.4--33,181,072
Peru--54.9--33,684,208
Uzbekistan--39--34,382,084
Angola--29.1--35,027,343
Saudi Arabia--44.9--35,844,909
Morocco--33.6--37,772,756
Canada--69.8--38,388,419
Afghanistan--28.8--40,754,388
Iraq--24--42,164,965
Ukraine--38.9--43,192,122
Algeria--26.2--45,350,148
Sudan--28.3--45,992,020
Uganda--36.5--48,432,863
Colombia--53.2--51,512,762
Myanmar--38.3--55,227,143
Kenya--38.8--56,215,221
South Africa--45.8--60,756,135
Tanzania--31.3--63,298,550
Thailand--68.2--70,078,203
Iran--36.5--86,022,837
DR Congo--26.1--95,240,792
Vietnam--42.9--98,953,541
Egypt--28--106,156,692
Philippines--45.7--112,508,994
Ethiopia--37.8--120,812,698
Russia--49.1--145,805,947
Bangladesh--35.5--167,885,689
Brazil--51.2--215,353,593
Nigeria--38--216,746,934
Pakistan--30.4--229,488,994
Indonesia--50.4--279,134,505
India--42.8--1,406,631,776

Healthiest Countries 2022

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