After looking into the countries with the highest life expectancies, we decided to take a look at the opposite end of the rank and focus on countries where people live the shortest lives on Earth. Generally, the average life expectancy of humans has an increasing tendency. Just in the United States alone, for example, the average life expectancy has increased by ten years over the past five decades. Yet, there are still many countries where people live very short lives.
There are various factors that influence life expectancy, including diet, public health, medical care, economic circumstances, gender differences, crime rate, wars etc. With that said, it comes as no surprise that most of countries with the lowest life expectancy are located in poor African and war-torn regions. It’s still surprising however, to come face to face with the fact that there are countries with average life expectancies of under 50 years. Compared to the Hong-Kongers or the Japanese who live nearly 84 years on average, it is significantly less! To find out what countries have the shortest average life spans in the world, check out the 25 Countries With The Lowest Life Expectancy In The World.
One of the smallest African countries, Malawi is a poor, rural country that has been failing to improve its under-developed healthcare. While Malawi has been making some progress on decreasing child mortality and reducing the incidences of HIV/AIDS and some other diseases, it still struggles with enormous maternal mortality and female genital mutilation occurrence.
South Africa (51.20)
As South Africa is one of the most affluent and prosperous countries in Africa, it might be surprising to see this country on our list but there is a good reason for that. In fact, there is a big difference between the average life expectancy of black South Africans (48 years) and white South Africans (71 years). With only 16% of the population covered by medical schemes, South Africa has an estimated 6.3 million people living with HIV – more than any other country in the world.
With its 182 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the 7th most populous country in the world. Unfortunately, only half of the population has access to potable water and appropriate sanitation, which – combined with widespread sectarian violence and other socio-pathogenic problems – has resulted in a very low average life expectancy.
Located in Eastern Africa, Somalia is a poor, mid-sized country notorious for ongoing civil war and unrests as a number of armed factions have been competing for influence in the country. Somalia’s public healthcare system as well as other parts of its infrastructure was largely destroyed during the war, leaving most of its population without access to basic healthcare and medical services.
Equatorial Guinea (50.10)
A major oil producer, Equatorial Guinea is the richest country per capita in Africa but the wealth is distributed unevenly and only a few people can benefit from the oil riches. Consequently, most of this country´s population cannot even afford clean drinking water and proper medical care, which is also why 20% of local children die before reaching the age of five.