May 31, 2018 06:24 PM

Chart: China Overtakes U.S. in ‘Healthy Life Expectancy’

Though Americans born today can expect to live for a few years longer than their Chinese counterparts, China’s newborns will experience more “healthy” years, new data show.

The findings, from the World Health Organization (WHO), show that for the first time, China has overtaken the United States in healthy life expectancy at birth.

“Healthy life expectancy” is defined by years lived in good health or without illness.

China’s newborns are projected to have healthy lives for an average of 68.7 years, compared to 68.5 years for Americans, according to the data.

However, Americans are likely to live longer overall — 78.5 years compared to China’s 76.4.

Singapore has led the world in healthy life expectancy since 2005, when it overtook Japan. Babies born in the Southeast Asian country are expected to live in good health for 76.2 years.

China has seen its overall and healthy life expectancies rise in recent years. In contrast, overall life expectancy in the U.S. peaked in 2014 at 79 years.


The Central African Republic was at the bottom globally for healthy life expectancy, where babies born in 2016 are likely to live only 44.9 years of healthy life, up from 39.2 years in 2000, according to the WHO.

Contact reporter Li Rongde (

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