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25 Healthiest Countries in the World

In this article, we will be taking a look at the 25 healthiest countries in the world. If you do not want to learn about the global healthcare landscape, head straight to the 5 Healthiest Countries In The World.

When discussing the healthiest countries in the world like Finland, Cameroon, and Slovenia, among others, various factors come into play, including access to healthcare, overall life expectancy, and prevalence of diseases. These nations prioritize public health initiatives, invest in healthcare infrastructure, and promote healthy lifestyles among their citizens. By focusing on preventive measures and providing comprehensive healthcare services, these countries have consistently ranked among the top in global health indices, setting a benchmark for others to follow. 

Global Healthcare Landscape: Trends, Challenges, and Projections 

The global health market encompasses various aspects of healthcare, including health systems, pharmaceutical markets, and health expenditures. In Europe, health expenditure ranges from 5.5% to 11.7% of GDP, with countries like France and Germany having higher percentages. With one-third of global pharmaceutical sales, the US has a complex healthcare system and is the largest pharmaceutical market.  

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Recent financial statistics reveal that global spending on health reached US$ 8.3 trillion or 10% of global GDP by 2018. In the US, health expenditure increased by 2.1% in 2020, reaching 18.8% of GDP. Europe's health expenditure increased by 1% in the OECD area in 2020. 

The global health and wellness market is projected to reach USD 12.9 trillion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 10.9% from 2022 to 2031. Health and wellness have become increasingly essential worldwide, with rising consumer spending on related goods and services. Significant health and wellness market players include Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc., The Coca-Cola Company, and F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. 

The global healthcare system is experiencing significant trends and challenges, as recent financial reports and statistics indicate. The global healthcare market was estimated at over $9 trillion, with a forecasted annual growth rate of 7.9%. Pharmaceuticals constitute a substantial share, with total sales surpassing $1.5 trillion in 2020. Healthcare expenditure as a share of GDP varies across regions, with North America spending over $4.4 trillion in 2022. Europe's healthcare market is diverse, with countries like Germany and France spending over 11% of their GDP on healthcare. 

The U.S. experiences the worst health outcomes among high-income nations, with life expectancy dropping between January 2020 and December 2021. The U.S. healthcare market grapples with soaring costs, limited access, disparities in quality and outcomes, and issues related to affordability and access. 

The global healthcare financial analytics market is expected to grow exponentially from 2023 to 2028, with North America leading in 2022. COVID-19 has accelerated the demand for healthcare financial analytics due to the pandemic's impact on health systems' financial responses and operations. 

The global healthcare market is projected to reach $11.9 trillion by 2025, with healthcare spending expected to account for nearly 20% of the U.S. GDP by 2027. Healthcare employment is expected to increase by 15% from 2019 to 2029 in the U.S., creating over 2 million new jobs. 

Transformative Shift in Healthcare: Leveraging Technology and Infrastructure 

The healthcare industry has profoundly transformed recently, primarily driven by technological advancements. These technological innovations have revolutionized the delivery of healthcare services, leading to improved patient outcomes and accessibility. From telemedicine to wearable devices and AI-powered diagnostics, these tech solutions have reshaped the landscape of healthcare delivery. 

Telemedicine is one of the most significant breakthroughs, facilitating remote healthcare services, particularly in underserved rural and remote areas. Wearable devices have gained popularity, empowering patients to monitor their health metrics in real time and share crucial data with healthcare providers. Moreover, AI-powered diagnostics have enhanced the accuracy of diagnoses and personalized treatment plans. 

Leading nations such as Japan, Singapore, and South Korea have pioneered the development and implementation of healthcare tech solutions. Japan has harnessed robotics to provide aging services and remote healthcare, while Singapore is spearheading the development of a national electronic health record system for seamless healthcare delivery. Similarly, South Korea's investments in AI diagnostics and robotics have improved patient outcomes. 

Global efforts in healthcare infrastructure development have been substantial, with countries investing in state-of-the-art facilities and research centers. Notably, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has made significant strides, exemplified by projects like Dubai Healthcare City, fostering medical tourism and attracting patients globally. China's ambitious "Healthy China 2030" plan aims to achieve universal healthcare coverage through substantial investments in infrastructure and services. 

Top countries are implementing diverse strategies to enhance their healthcare systems. The United States prioritizes value-based care to improve outcomes while reducing costs. In contrast, the United Kingdom focuses on digital health solutions, exemplified by the NHS App for seamless healthcare access. Germany emphasizes healthcare research, allocating substantial funds to support medical innovation. 

Telemedicine is one of the fastest growing trends in the healthcare industry. It is projected to reach $185.6 billion by 2026, with a CAGR of 23.5% from 2021 to 2026. The AI-powered diagnostics market is projected to reach $3.7 billion by 2028, with a CAGR of 23.2%

Key Players in Global Healthcare 

Several key players stand at the forefront, driving innovation, research, and access to medical solutions worldwide. Among these prominent figures are pharmaceutical giants like Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE:LLY), known for their groundbreaking medications and digital healthcare initiatives, and Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), renowned for its innovative medical devices and solutions spanning various medical fields.

Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE:LLY), a leading pharmaceutical firm, introduces LillyDirect, a digital healthcare platform in the U.S. targeting conditions like obesity, migraine, and diabetes. This initiative integrates digital pharmacy services, telehealth access, and educational resources to enhance patient care. Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE:LLY)  has actively participated in prominent healthcare conferences such as the Morgan Stanley 21st Annual Global Healthcare Conference. Recent news includes the retirement of key executives like Johna Norton and Philip Johnson. CFO Anat Ashkenazi's involvement in Cowen's 44th Annual Health Care Conference underscores its commitment to showcasing its financial performance and engaging with investors. 

On the other hand, Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), a prominent player in the global healthcare industry, is renowned for its innovative medical devices and solutions across various fields, such as cardiovascular health, diabetes management, diagnostic testing, nutrition, and chronic pain management. Abbott Laboratories' (NYSE:ABT) recent trends and innovations include introducing the world's most miniature rechargeable system for movement disorders and the Proclaim DRG Neurostimulation System for chronic pain with expanded MRI access.

Notable contributions include Abbott's Food as Medicine Program for diabetes management and FDA approval for an HPV test on Alinity m. Upcoming trends indicate a continued focus on enhancing medical devices and solutions through research and development. In recent news, Abbott declared its 401st consecutive quarterly dividend and received FDA Advisory Committee approval for its TriClip System. 

Let's now move to the list of the 25 healthiest countries in the world.

25 Healthiest Countries In The World
25 Healthiest Countries In The World

A smiling healthcare professional, treating a patient with the PLEX platform.

Our Methodology 

Our methodology involves ranking the healthiest countries globally by aggregating health indexes from three reputable sources: Bloomberg, and the Global Health Security Index of 2021. We calculated the average of these indexes to determine each country's overall health ranking. 

Here is our list of the 25 healthiest countries in the world.

25. UAE 

Average Health Index: 53.37

The UAE boasts a life expectancy of 79.7 years, with males averaging 78 years and females 81.4 years. However, it faces challenges with obesity, ranking fifth globally, and struggling to meet global nutrition targets. Factors such as globalization and international cuisines contribute to rising obesity rates. Obesity prevalence is notably high, with 44.2% of adult women and 30.9% of adult men affected. Limited progress has been made in addressing diet-related non-communicable diseases.

24. Israel 

Average Health Index: 67.67

Israel ranks among one of the healthiest countries in the world for its exemplary healthcare system. Factors contributing to its high ranking include access to quality healthcare, clean water, low health risks, and high life expectancy. With a GDP per capita of US$58,270 in 2023, Israel's robust healthcare system emphasizes research, innovation, and preventive care, resulting in advanced medical technology and treatments. 

23. Luxembourg 

Average Health Index: 67.89

Luxembourg ranks among the healthiest countries globally, with a life expectancy of nearly 83 years, surpassing OECD average. Healthcare spending per capita reached EUR 3,742 in 2019 despite comprising only 5% of GDP. However, the nation faces healthcare-professional shortages, worsened by COVID-19. Obesity rates are significant, affecting 22.7% of adult women and 27.5% of men. While progress is made in nutrition targets, challenges persist in combating childhood wasting and reducing anemia in women. 

22. Portugal  

Average Health Index: 68.9

Portugal, one of the healthiest country in the world, has a life expectancy of 82 years, slightly above the OECD average, but lower health spending per capita compared to the EU average, emphasizing outpatient care. Challenges include low physical activity rates, leading to rising overweight and obesity. Portugal's health expenditure is $4162 per capita, below the OECD average of $4986, comprising 10.6% of GDP. The country has 5.6 practicing doctors and 7.4 practicing nurses per 1000 population, higher than the OECD averages of 3.7 doctors and 9.2 nurses, respectively.

21. Ireland 

Average Health Index: 69.68

Ireland has the EU's highest reported reasonable health rate at 84% in 2019, though health disparities persist based on income levels. Health expenditure aligns with the EU average, with a significant portion dedicated to inpatient care. Ireland spends $6,047 per capita on health, surpassing the OECD average of 6.1% of GDP, lower than the OECD average of 9.2%. The country has 4.0 practicing doctors and 12.7 practicing nurses per 1,000 population, higher than the OECD averages. 

20. Belgium 

Average Health Index: 69.88

Belgium ranks among Europe's top 10 healthiest countries with an improving life expectancy. Major causes of death include cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and COVID-19. . The system is characterized by high-quality services and accessibility. Notably, there was an increase in new HIV diagnoses in 2022, but daily smoking among adolescents has declined since 2006. COVID-19 posed a significant disease burden in 2020.

19. Iceland 

Average Health index: 69.97

Iceland is renowned for its exceptional health standards, which can be attributed to various factors. The country's clean environment, characterized by pristine air, low pollution levels, and natural hot springs, is believed to offer health benefits. With one of the highest global life expectancies — 81 years for men and 84 years for women—healthcare expenditure reached 9.65% of GDP in 2021. Despite a publicly funded healthcare system, challenges persist, such as retaining healthcare professionals due to comparatively lower salaries, while around one-third of adults reported chronic conditions in 2018. 

18. Austria 

Average Health Index: 71.6

Austria is ranked among the top 20 healthiest countries globally, with a life expectancy of 81.7 years, higher than the EU average. Ischaemic heart disease is the leading cause of death, with rising diabetes mortality. Austria spends $7,275 per capita on health, surpassing the OECD average of 11.4% of GDP, higher than the OECD average of 9.2%. The country has 5.4 practicing doctors and 10.6 practicing nurses per 1,000 population. 

17. Italy  

Average Health Index: 71.74

Italy, known for its healthy lifestyle and cuisine, has a decentralized healthcare system led by the National Health Service. Health expenditure was 9.4% of GDP in 2021, with public spending at 74%. Per capita spending increased by 7% from 2019 to 2021 due to COVID-19. Recent data indicates a slight decline in health spending in 2022 but remains above 2019 levels. Outpatient and inpatient care constitute over 60% of health spending. Italy demonstrates effectiveness in treating life-threatening conditions despite challenges like physical inactivity. 

16. Singapore 

Average Health Index: 73.34 

Singapore is consistently ranked as one of the world's healthiest countries. Health expenditure was $12.59 billion in 2023, with a GDP per capita of $87,884.16. The government firmly commits to funding healthcare, particularly for older people, and invests in public health initiatives. Healthcare spending is projected to double over the next five years, reaching 3.5% of GDP by 2030, ensuring a promising financial outlook for maintaining Singapore's widespread healthcare system. 

15. Denmark

Average Health Index: 73.54

Denmark ranks 12th among the healthiest countries in the world, spending more on health per person than most EU nations. Denmark spends $6,280 per capita on health, surpassing the OECD average, which accounts for 9.5% of GDP, higher than the OECD average of 9.2%. The country has 4.4 practicing doctors and 10.2 practicing nurses per 1,000 population. 

14. Germany 

Average Health Index: 74.28

With 83.1 million people, Germany spends $6,729 per capita on health, exceeding the OECD average, which accounts for 10.2% of GDP, compared to 9.2% on average in the OECD. The country has 3.9 doctors and 11.4 practicing nurses per 1,000 population, higher than the OECD averages. It prioritizes quality healthcare services and maintains a robust Civil Registration and Vital Statistics system.  

13. France 

Average Health Index: 74.42

France, renowned for its healthiness, dedicates 12.3% of its GDP to health spending, the second highest in the EU. Despite a slight drop, France's life expectancy remains above the EU average. Unhealthy lifestyles, including smoking and lack of physical activity, contribute significantly to the burden of disease. France spends $6,630 per capita on health, exceeding the OECD average, with robust financial coverage and emphasis on public health measures. 

12. USA

Average Health Index: 74.55

Despite its wealth, the United States ranks 12th among the countries with the most health. Challenges include high rates of chronic diseases, obesity, and low life expectancy (around 79 years), despite spending approximately 16.9% of GDP on healthcare. The U.S. excels in preventative measures like cancer screenings and advanced medical technologies but faces disadvantages such as adverse birth outcomes, high injury rates, and elevated levels of obesity and diabetes.

11. Norway 

Average Health Index: 74.64

Norway is among the healthiest countries globally, with an average life expectancy of 83.3 years. Factors include an active lifestyle, an Omega-3-rich diet, and a robust publicly funded healthcare system with universal coverage. Norway spends $7,771 per capita on health, exceeding the OECD average of $4,986, which accounts for 7.9% of GDP, lower than the OECD average of 9.2%. The country has 5.2 practicing doctors per 1,000 population and 18.3 practicing nurses, significantly higher than the OECD averages of 3.7 and 9.2, respectively. 

10. Switzerland  

Average Health Index: 74.86

Switzerland stands among the top healthiest countries in the world, thanks to factors like universal healthcare, a high quality of life, and a clean environment. Its public healthcare system, based on mandatory health insurance, ensures access for all residents. Switzerland spends $8,049 per capita on health, exceeding the OECD average. With 4.3 doctors and 17.9 nurses per 1,000 people, it has one of the highest ratios of healthcare providers. The country's high life expectancy of almost 84 years is associated with higher healthcare spending per person, with 81% reporting good health compared to the OECD average of 68%. 

9. Slovenia  

Average Health Index: 75.26  

Among the healthiest globally, Slovenia has a life expectancy of nearly 82 years, slightly above the OECD average. Slovenia's healthcare spending for 2021 was $2,671, marking a 10.49% increase from 2020.

8. The Netherlands

Average Health Index: 75.28

The Netherlands is among the healthiest nations globally, with factors like low diabetes rates and a diet rich in vegetables and dairy. It boasts a life expectancy of 81.9 years and low obesity levels. The country allocates 10.2% of its GDP to health expenditure. With high-quality healthcare services, it surpasses the OECD average in good health reporting. Regular health examinations aid in early disease detection and prevention.

7. South Korea 

Average Health Index: 75.4

South Korea, one of the healthiest countries in the world, boasts a life expectancy of over 83 years, exceeding the OECD average. With health expenditure at 8.36% of GDP, it invests significantly in healthcare. The country's GDP per capita in 2021 was USD 34,997. Its healthcare system emphasizes education, health, and civic engagement, leading to remarkable advancements in medical care and public health interventions. 

6. The United Kingdom  

Average Health Index: 75.74

The UK, one of the top healthiest countries in the world, boasts a well-established healthcare system, the National Health Service (NHS), offering universal healthcare free at the point of delivery. The United Kingdom spends $5,493 per capita on health, exceeding the OECD average of $4986, which accounts for 11.3% of GDP, higher than the OECD average of 9.2%.

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Disclosure. None: The 25 Healthiest Countries In The World is originally published on Insider Monkey.