20 Healthiest Countries In The World 2024: Where to Find Well-Being

healthiest countires in world

In recent times, the significance of global health has become more palpable than ever. As nations strive to manage the ongoing repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the vitality of public health and healthcare infrastructures is clearer than ever.

Every year, numerous organizations unveil reports detailing the rankings of the world’s healthiest countries, offering a deeper understanding of healthcare system efficiencies and public health outcomes worldwide.

As someone considering living abroad, it’s essential to recognize how these factors might influence your daily experiences. Curious about where your potential new home stands in terms of health? Let’s delve into the rankings of the world’s healthiest countries.

How Did I Pick the World’s Healthiest Countries?

health countries

Determining the healthiest countries in the world is no small task. Here’s how I approached it:

Our compilation for the healthiest nations draws on two comprehensive health evaluations: the Bloomberg Health Index and the Global Health Security Index. Each uses varied data sets to rank the world’s healthiest countries.

Furthermore, I enriched our list by integrating findings from our independent studies on the healthiest global diets and the countries reported as the happiest. This multi-faceted approach provides prospective expats with a richer picture of where they might enjoy the most health-conscious lifestyle abroad.

Bloomberg Health Index

The Bloomberg Health Index’s methodology harnesses multiple data sources, notably from esteemed organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and The World Bank. Its algorithm boils down to three primary criteria:

  1. Life Expectancy: A straightforward metric, it determines the average lifespan of individuals in a particular country.
  2. Environmental Conditions: This evaluates the quality of the surroundings, encompassing aspects like air and water quality, sanitation, and other elements that can influence overall well-being.
  3. Health Risks: This takes into consideration behavioral and systemic risks to health in a country, looking at tobacco and alcohol consumption patterns, obesity rates, and other similar metrics.

To give a snapshot, here are the top 10 nations deemed the healthiest by the Bloomberg Health Index in 2019:

Rank Country Score
1 Spain 92.75
2 Italy 91.59
3 Iceland 91.44
4 Japan 91.38
5 Switzerland 90.93
6 Sweden 90.24
7 Australia 89.75
8 Singapore 89.29
9 Norway 89.09
10 Israel 88.15

Global Health Security Index

The Healthcare

The Global Health Security Index (GHSI) is a sophisticated instrument gauging a nation’s competency in preventing, detecting, and responding to infectious disease threats. Its core objective is to understand how geared nations are towards managing health crises and pinpoint areas needing enhancement.

The GHSI designates “healthiness” a tad differently: it’s less about daily wellness and more about readiness in the face of health emergencies. Its evaluations cover six key domains:

  1. Prevention: Measures put in place to reduce the risk of infectious outbreaks.
  2. Detection and Reporting: The ability to identify diseases and notify appropriate bodies swiftly.
  3. Rapid Response: How effectively and quickly a country can act once a health threat is recognized.
  4. Health System: The robustness of the health infrastructure, encompassing everything from hospitals to health policies.
  5. Compliance with International Norms: How well a country aligns with global health standards and recommendations.
  6. Risk Environment: Evaluates the country’s vulnerability to biological threats based on political, socioeconomic, and environmental factors.

Each domain gets decomposed further into more granular indicators. For instance, a country’s vaccination outreach and the capacity of its laboratories are specific metrics within these broader categories.

Without further ado, here are the top 10 nations that excelled in the Global Health Security Index for 2021:

Rank Country Score
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

20 Healthiest Nations In World

20. Greece

Average life expectancy: 82 years

Greece, the cradle of Mediterranean civilization, boasts not only historical richness but also a commitment to health. The Greek diet, celebrated as one of the healthiest globally, emphasizes olive oil, fresh vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins like fish. This dietary pattern is associated with reduced risks of heart disease and other chronic illnesses.

Greece’s strong sense of community and family values contributes to mental well-being. The Mediterranean climate and access to the sea promote outdoor activities and an active lifestyle.

19. Belgium


Average life expectancy: 81 years

Belgium, known for its chocolates and waffles, also shines in terms of health. The Belgian healthcare system provides universal coverage, ensuring access to medical services for all residents.

The country’s moderate climate encourages outdoor activities, and the Belgian diet, which includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, supports overall health. Belgium’s commitment to mental health and a work-life balance further contributes to its high health ranking.

18. Austria


Average life expectancy: 82 years

Austria, with its picturesque Alpine landscapes, is not just a treat for the eyes but also a haven for health-conscious individuals. The Austrian healthcare system offers comprehensive coverage, and residents have access to quality medical services.

Austrian cuisine, which includes hearty dishes like schnitzel and sausages, is balanced by a tradition of outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, and cycling. The clean air and lush green spaces in the country promote physical and mental well-being.

17. Germany

Average life expectancy: 81 years

Germany, known for its precision engineering, extends its precision to healthcare. The German healthcare system is highly regarded globally and provides universal coverage.

The German lifestyle values physical fitness, with many people engaging in activities like soccer, hiking, and cycling. The country’s well-maintained parks and green spaces offer ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. The diet is typically balanced, with a focus on whole grains, vegetables, and dairy products.

16. France

Average life expectancy: 83 years

France, famous for its cuisine and wine, also ranks high in health. The French healthcare system ensures that all residents have access to medical services.

The French diet, with its emphasis on fresh produce, cheese, and wine (in moderation), is associated with lower rates of heart disease. The French lifestyle values leisurely meals, which contribute to a healthier relationship with food. France’s beautiful countryside and outdoor recreational opportunities further enhance the quality of life.

15. Luxembourg


Average life expectancy: 82 years

Luxembourg, one of Europe’s smallest countries, offers a high standard of living and healthcare. The Luxembourgish healthcare system provides comprehensive coverage to residents.

The country’s affluent lifestyle encourages outdoor activities, and the scenic landscapes provide ample opportunities for hiking and biking. The diet in Luxembourg is diverse, with influences from neighboring countries, emphasizing fresh ingredients and balanced meals.

14. Netherlands


Average life expectancy: 81 years

The Netherlands, often dubbed the “biking capital of the world,” has health ingrained in its daily life. The flat terrain and infrastructure promote cycling, ensuring that a significant portion of the population engages in this healthy mode of transport.

The Dutch healthcare system, ranked among the best in Europe, is characterized by its accessibility and quality. It is primarily funded through a combination of taxation and mandatory health insurance.

The Dutch diet, rich in dairy, vegetables, and seafood, combined with an active lifestyle, plays a significant role in the nation’s health. The Netherlands’ focus on mental health, environmental sustainability, and community engagement contributes to its high health ranking.

13. Portugal

Average life expectancy: 81 years

Portugal, with its Mediterranean charm, offers more than just scenic beauty. The Portuguese healthcare system, which is a mix of public and private services, ensures comprehensive coverage for all its residents.

The Mediterranean diet, which is integral to Portuguese cuisine, is rich in seafood, olive oil, fruits, and vegetables. This diet, known for its numerous health benefits, plays a significant role in the country’s high life expectancy.

Portugal’s emphasis on community and family, combined with its relaxed pace of life, contributes to the mental well-being of its citizens. The country’s beautiful landscapes, from beaches to mountains, encourage outdoor activities, further enhancing the health quotient of its residents.

12. Denmark


Average life expectancy: 81 years

Denmark, another Nordic gem, consistently ranks high in global health indices. The Danish healthcare system, funded by taxes, ensures that all residents have free access to hospitals and general practitioners.

The Danish lifestyle, characterized by cycling and walking as primary modes of transport, especially in cities like Copenhagen, contributes significantly to the nation’s health. The emphasis on physical activity is complemented by a diet rich in fish, whole grains, and fresh produce.

Denmark’s focus on mental well-being, with policies that promote work-life balance and community engagement, plays a crucial role in its high health rankings. The country’s low levels of pollution, combined with its green initiatives, make it an ideal place for those prioritizing health.

11. New Zealand

New Zealand

Average life expectancy: 82 years

New Zealand, often referred to as the last paradise on Earth, is not just a visual treat but also a haven for health. The Kiwi lifestyle, deeply rooted in outdoor activities and a connection with nature, plays a pivotal role in the overall well-being of its citizens.

Central to New Zealand’s health is its public healthcare system, which is primarily funded through general taxation. This ensures that all residents have access to essential health services. The country’s focus on primary healthcare ensures early detection and management of health issues, reducing the burden on tertiary care.

The traditional Maori concept of ‘Whānau Ora‘ or family health is integral to New Zealand’s approach to health. It emphasizes the collective well-being of the family unit rather than just individual health.

New Zealand’s diet, rich in seafood, dairy, and fresh produce, coupled with an active lifestyle that includes sports like rugby and cricket, contributes to its high health standards. The country’s pristine environment, with its clean air and abundant green spaces, further enhances the quality of life, making New Zealand one of the top contenders in global health rankings.

10. Canada


Average life expectancy: 82 years

Securing the tenth position, Canada stands tall not just as one of the world’s healthiest nations, but also as one of the most contented. Its emphasis on outdoor pursuits, coupled with a generally nutritious dietary regime and a pristine environment, plays a pivotal role in ensuring the mental and physical well-being of its citizens.

Distinct from its southern counterpart, the USA, Canada boasts a publicly financed and universally accessible healthcare system. This inclusivity ensures that both citizens and permanent residents can avail of its services. The foundational significance of this universal healthcare cannot be overstated, acting as a protective shield for Canadians’ health and also being instrumental in curtailing healthcare expenses.

One of the striking evidences of Canada’s health achievements is its impressive life expectancy of 82 years. A proactive approach towards preventive healthcare, encompassing immunizations and regular health screenings like those for cancer, is pivotal to this statistic. Moreover, Canada’s commendably low infant mortality rate and minimal air pollution are integral to its citizens’ overall wellness.

In addition to these attributes, Canada is renowned for its assertive public health campaigns. These range from anti-tobacco drives and educational endeavours stressing the significance of a balanced diet and regular exercise, to comprehensive immunization programs. Furthermore, its stringent food safety norms assure Canadians of a high-quality food supply, adding another feather in its health cap.

9. Singapore

Average life expectancy: 84 years

The World Health Organization (WHO) commends Singapore’s healthcare infrastructure, positioning it as the 6th best globally. Such recognition can be attributed to its superior medical education standards, cutting-edge medical technology, and a healthcare delivery system that is both prompt and effective.

Singapore stands out for its pristine environment, characterized by untainted air and water, playing a pivotal role in averting respiratory ailments and other health challenges. Its low incidence rates for infectious diseases, including notable ones like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, underscore the efficacy of the country’s public health efforts. These achievements are testament to the nation’s robust healthcare programs, including wide-ranging vaccination drives and vigilant disease monitoring systems.

Increasingly becoming a hotspot for expatriates, newcomers to Singapore will find solace in the country’s well-earned reputation for safety and negligible crime rates. Such an environment undeniably curtails anxiety, fostering a communal feeling of security and well-being for both long-standing residents and those newly calling Singapore home.

8. Norway


Average life expectancy: 83 years

The Nordic region consistently stands out, and Norway is no exception. Boasting a universal healthcare system, a lifestyle deeply embedded in outdoor activities, a health-conscious diet, and seamless access to wellness services, Norway confidently secures its position among the healthiest countries in 2024.

As highlighted, the backbone of Norway’s healthcare framework is its tax-funded public health system. This ensures every resident has unhindered access to fundamental medical care. The striking number of medical professionals — 4.9 doctors and a whopping 18.3 nurses and midwives for every 1,000 individuals — guarantees that the healthcare quality in Norway is nothing short of exemplary.

One of Norway’s shining achievements lies in its all-encompassing social welfare infrastructure. By offering wide-ranging economic and social assistance, including health, disability, unemployment benefits, and pension schemes, Norway effectively mitigates stress and financial hardships for its residents, thus contributing to their holistic well-being.

Factor in a pristine environment, a societal ethos rooted in outdoor pursuits, and a penchant for fresh, nutrient-rich foods, and it becomes abundantly clear why Norway deservedly stands tall as one of the globe’s healthiest domains.

7. Switzerland


Average life expectancy: 83 years

Venturing back to European territory, Switzerland invariably graces any healthiest countries list. Renowned for its vibrant outdoor-centric culture, Switzerland entices with a plethora of activities, from hiking and skiing to cycling, all contributing to the nation’s strong emphasis on holistic well-being.

Switzerland’s healthcare model is laudable. Ensuring every citizen is catered to, the country’s health system hinges on compulsory health insurance, thus guaranteeing universal access to primary healthcare services irrespective of one’s financial or occupational standing.

Further solidifying its stature in healthcare, Switzerland touts one of the world’s most impressive healthcare provider ratios. As per WHO metrics, the country boasts 4.3 doctors and a remarkable 17.9 nurses and midwives for every 1,000 residents.

Melding a universally accessible healthcare system, impeccable access to wellness services, an unparalleled quality of life, and an immaculate environment, Switzerland indisputably cements its reputation as one of the global leaders in health and well-being.

6. Australia

Average life expectancy: 83 years

Australia’s inclusion in the top echelons of the healthiest countries is underpinned by a myriad of factors. These span its commendable quality of life, pristine environment, and hassle-free access to wholesome nutrition. And these virtues barely scratch the surface before highlighting its stellar healthcare system.

A testimony to its unwavering commitment to the health of its residents, the Australian government is steadfast in bolstering public health. A gamut of health-driven initiatives is orchestrated to inculcate healthy lifestyles and stave off illnesses. Noteworthy endeavors include rigorous anti-smoking crusades, expansive vaccination drives, and awareness campaigns championing nutritious diets and regular exercise. The National Immunisation Program stands out, ensuring complimentary vaccinations for children and a significant portion of adults, thus safeguarding them from contagious ailments.

Complementing these public health initiatives is Medicare, Australia’s flagship public healthcare mechanism. Designed to ensure every citizen and permanent resident receives optimal care, it offers services either free of charge or at a nominal fee. As per the Commonwealth Fund’s evaluations, in a comparison amongst 11 affluent nations, Australia clinches the third position in healthcare system efficacy.

Corroborating this high standard of healthcare is data from IPSOS, where a resounding 81% of Australians applaud the quality of their healthcare services, categorizing them as either ‘good’ or ‘exceptional’. This figure towers above the ratings from the 26 other nations evaluated in the survey, making Australia’s healthcare endorsement truly unparalleled.

5. Sweden


Average life expectancy: 82 years

Heralding from the Nordic region, Sweden clinches the fifth position on our list of healthiest countries. The nation is anchored by its robust and generously funded healthcare system, ensuring universal healthcare accessibility for every Swede. Drawing from OECD statistics, in 2019, Sweden channeled 9.9% of its GDP into healthcare — a figure that transcends the mean expenditure of OECD nations.

Integral to Swedish health is their dietary regimen. Characterized by a rich intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, the Swedish diet is a key deterrent against chronic illnesses. Additionally, an active lifestyle is the norm in Sweden, courtesy of a cultural inclination toward outdoor pursuits like hiking, cycling, and skiing. Such activities not only bolster physical health but also fortify mental well-being.

Sweden’s idyllic landscapes are mirrored by its impressive air quality metrics, indicative of optimal respiratory health. Further accentuating its commitment to a healthy populace, Sweden institutes formidable environmental protection strategies. Efforts to curtail greenhouse gas emissions and champion renewable energy not only position Sweden as an environmental steward but also amplify the nation’s commitment to the collective health of its citizens.

3. Iceland


Average life expectancy: 83 years

Topping our healthiest countries’ list at the third position is Iceland, an embodiment of the synergy between a holistic lifestyle and unwavering devotion to public health.

Iceland’s investment in healthcare is exemplary. Their expenditure stands out on a global scale, underlining their profound dedication to ensuring optimal healthcare for every citizen. In numbers presented by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Iceland allocated a significant 8.6% of its GDP to healthcare in 2019. This investment surpasses the OECD’s average and fortifies Iceland’s reputation of a robust and universally accessible healthcare infrastructure.

Iceland’s emphasis on community health is evident. Their extensive immunization drives stand testament to their proactive approach, as does their resolute mission to curb tobacco and alcohol consumption.

Zooming into the daily life of an Icelander reveals the foundations of their healthy existence. Their dietary habits, profoundly influenced by the Nordic Diet, encompass a nutritional spectrum with fish, dairy, and vegetables taking center stage. Such a diet not only offers diverse nutrients but also acts as a protective shield against chronic conditions, including cardiovascular diseases and cancers.

But the Icelandic way of life isn’t just about eating right. Their ethos of embracing the outdoors and integrating physical activity into daily routines showcases their commitment to holistic wellness. Whether it’s the rugged terrains that beckon hikers or the snowy landscapes that allure skiers, physical exertion is an enjoyable pursuit rather than a chore, fostering both bodily and mental well-being.

2. Italy

Average life expectancy: 82 years

Italy’s enviable second place in the 2021 Bloomberg Health Index doesn’t come as a surprise for those familiar with the country’s essence. A harmonious blend of first-rate healthcare, beneficial environmental factors, deep-rooted healthy lifestyle practices, and a warm, communal culture culminate in Italy’s standing as one of the global health pinnacles.

At the heart of Italian wellness lies its culinary tradition. A treasure trove of wholesome nutrition, the Italian cuisine boasts a menu laden with fresh vegetables, whole grains, and beneficial fats. It is no wonder that such a diet has been consistently linked to diminishing the risks of chronic ailments, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and certain cancers. However, it’s not solely about the constituents of the meal; the manner in which Italians consume it accentuates its benefits.

Deeply entrenched in Italian culture is the practice of shared meals, a time when families and friends gather around the dining table. These gatherings are not just occasions for nourishment but also act as social balm, fostering bonds, and encouraging mindful eating. The latter, with its emphasis on savoring each bite and portion control, enhances the health benefits manifold.

A pivotal cornerstone bolstering Italy’s health status is its healthcare infrastructure. It proudly offers universal healthcare, ensuring that each citizen, regardless of their socio-economic background, receives medical attention when required. A testament to its commitment is the impressive doctor-to-population ratio. Boasting 8.0 doctors for every thousand people as of 2019, Italy stands second in the world, a figure that underscores the nation’s unwavering dedication to its citizens’ well-being.

1. Spain

Average life expectancy: 82 years

Sitting atop the Bloomberg Health Index is Spain, a nation that effortlessly blends the best of healthcare, lifestyle, and environment, making it the healthiest country in 2021. The vibrant Spanish culture, which holds family and community at its core, not only instills a sense of belonging but also bolsters emotional and psychological health.

Central to Spain’s leading health ranking is its exemplary healthcare system. Renowned for guaranteeing universal healthcare access, it ensures every citizen – regardless of their economic status – can avail medical care. Funding through taxation makes this extensive network of healthcare services both affordable and within reach for everyone. Spain’s impressive ratio of doctors, standing at 4.0 per 1,000 individuals as of 2018, further reinforces the nation’s commitment to health. This, complemented by the equitable distribution of healthcare amenities, ensures every region of the expansive country benefits.

When it comes to dietary practices that foster health, Spain’s world-famous Mediterranean diet emerges as a gold standard. Celebrated for its incredible health dividends, this diet pivots on the lavish use of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and the iconic olive oil.

These constituents have been scientifically linked to reducing the peril of a slew of chronic conditions like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and certain types of cancers. What further elevates Spain’s health quotient is the way meals become a communal activity, where food is relished, stories are exchanged, and bonds are reinforced.

The nation’s environment too plays a pivotal role in its health story. With commendably low levels of air pollution, Spaniards are gifted with clean air, which is a boon for respiratory health. This clean environment, coupled with an array of sporting facilities dotting the country – from serpentine cycling paths to bustling basketball courts – encourages physical activity, making Spain not just a haven for the soul, but also a sanctuary for the body.

10 Unhealthiest Countries

  1. Central African Republic: Approximately 53 years
  2. Democratic Republic of the Congo: Approximately 60 years
  3. Chad: Approximately 54 years
  4. Sierra Leone: Approximately 53 years
  5. Nigeria: Approximately 55 years
  6. Afghanistan: Approximately 64 years
  7. Haiti: Approximately 64 years
  8. Yemen: Approximately 65 years
  9. South Sudan: Approximately 57 years
  10. Somalia: Approximately 58 years

Final Words

In a world where global health has never been more important, these rankings of the world’s healthiest countries offer valuable insights. From Spain’s holistic approach to well-being to Italy’s culinary treasures and Iceland’s dedication to public health, these nations showcase diverse paths to a healthier life.

While celebrating these health leaders, we must also remember the challenges faced by less fortunate countries. It’s a call to action for global efforts to improve healthcare and overall well-being for all.

Whether you’re considering living abroad or contributing to global health initiatives, these rankings shed light on the state of public health worldwide. Health is a universal aspiration, and by working together, we can strive for a healthier future for everyone.

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