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Top 10 Healthiest Countries In The World

Top 10 Healthiest Countries In The World 2023

avatar - Susan Kelly

Susan Kelly

International Claims Team Manager

In recent years, global health has been at the forefront of public consciousness. As countries continue to grapple with the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of public health and healthcare systems cannot be overstated.

Each year, several organisations release reports and rankings of the healthiest countries in the world, providing valuable insights into the performance of healthcare systems and public health outcomes across the globe. As an expat, many of the factors that contribute to a country’s overall health will have a direct impact on your daily life, so it’s important to know where your home ranks. Ready to find out the healthiest countries in the world?

Two older ladies returning from supermarket carrying fruit and vegetables in a basket

The healthiest countries in the world

At William Russell, we have combined various rankings of the healthiest countries in the world in 2023, examining the performance of countries in areas such as life expectancy, environmental factors, health risks, and health care systems, to create our own meta-analysis.

We have also factored in elements such as diet, happiness and mental wellbeing, making our view of health in each of our top 10 healthiest countries truly holistic.

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How did we pick the world’s healthiest countries?

Our list of healthiest countries is based on two of the most in-depth assessments of healthfulness: the Bloomberg Health Index and the Global Health Security Index, each ranking the healthiest countries based on different sets of data.

However, we have also taken into account our own research on the healthiest diets in the world, and the happiest countries in the world, helping to give expats a broader sense of which countries will provide the healthiest lifestyle when living abroad.

Bloomberg Health Index

The Bloomberg Health Index aims to calculate the healthiest countries by taking into account various sources, including data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and The World Bank.

The index is calculated using three main factors. The first factor is life expectancy, which measures how long people are expected to live on average in a given country. The second factor is environmental factors, which includes air pollution, water quality, sanitation, and other measures of the environmental conditions that can affect health. The third factor is health risks, which includes factors such as tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and obesity rates.

These are the top 10 healthiest countries in the world according to the Bloomberg Health Index (2019):





Global Health Security Index

The Global Health Security Index (GHSI) is a tool that assesses the ability of countries to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks. The index is designed to evaluate the overall preparedness of countries to handle public health emergencies and to identify areas where improvements are needed.

The GHSI calculates the healthiest countries in the world by evaluating each country’s performance across six main categories: prevention, detection and reporting, rapid response, health system, compliance with international norms, and risk environment. Each category is further divided into specific indicators, such as vaccination coverage and laboratory testing capacity, which are used to assess a country’s performance in that area.

These are the top 10 healthiest countries in the world according to the Global Health Security Index (2021):




United States
United Kingdom
South Korea
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The 10 healthiest countries in the world 2023

Based on a meta-analysis of these various rankings, here is William Russell’s pick of the top 10 healthiest countries in the world for 2023:

Top 10 healthiest countries in the world

  1. Spain
  2. Italy
  3. Iceland
  4. Japan
  5. Sweden
  6. Australia
  7. Switzerland
  8. Norway
  9. Singapore
  10. Canada

1/ Spain

Average life expectancy: 82 years

Spain didn’t take the number 1 spot on Bloomberg’s Health Index for nothing. The winning combination of a strong healthcare system, healthy lifestyle habits, and favourable environmental factors all contribute to Spain’s high ranking on our list of healthiest countries. Spain also has a strong cultural emphasis on family and community, which can promote mental and emotional well-being.

Spain’s healthcare system is known for providing universal access to healthcare, which means that all citizens are entitled to receive medical attention. The system is funded through taxes and offers a broad range of services that are both affordable and accessible to all citizens. Spain also has a high number of doctors per capita – 4.0 per capita as of 2018 – and a good distribution of healthcare resources across the country.

Widely recognized for its health benefits, Spain’s Mediterranean diet has a lot to answer for when it comes to Spanish health and longevity. Incorporating a high consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and olive oil, which are associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, the Spanish way of eating is now being adopted by health experts across the globe as a preventative for high-risk patients.

Spain also has a relatively low level of air pollution, which can contribute to better respiratory health, and fantastic sporting infrastructure across the whole country, from cycle paths to basketball courts.

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2/ Italy

Average life expectancy: 82 years

Italy’s 2nd place ranking in the 2021 Bloomberg Health Index can be attributed to a number of factors including a strong universal healthcare system, healthy lifestyle habits, healthy environmental factors and a positive social and cultural environment, all of which contribute to Italy’s status as one of the world’s healthiest countries.

Italian cuisine is known for being healthy, with a diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, and good fats. It has even been directly linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. But it’s not just what the Italians eat, it’s also the way they eat it.

Italians have a strong culture of traditional eating patterns, such as enjoying meals with family and friends. Not only does this encourage healthier food choices and better portion control, but it also promotes social connectedness, contributing to good mental health.

Italy’s healthcare system is widely accessible, with universal healthcare that covers all citizens. The country also has a high number of doctors and nurses – 8.0 per capita as of 2019, the second highest ratio in the world.

Hiker woman with backpack and hat rising arms in victory sign on snowy mountain peak at Covadonga lake, beautiful snow winter landscape sunset scene on a touristic location of Asturias, Spain, Europe.

3/ Iceland

Average life expectancy: 83 years

The Icelandic lifestyle and wholehearted commitment to public health are just a couple of the reasons Iceland appears so high on our list of healthiest countries.

Indeed, Iceland’s healthcare spending is among the highest in the world, reflecting its strong commitment to providing quality healthcare for all. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Iceland spent 8.6% of its GDP on healthcare in 2019 – higher than the OECD average. As a result, Iceland boasts a well-functioning healthcare system that provides universal healthcare for all citizens.

Iceland also has a strong emphasis on public health, including a comprehensive vaccination program and is making a strong effort to reduce smoking and alcohol consumption.

The healthiness of the Icelandic lifestyle comes down to a combination of a diet and physical activity. Following a Nordic Diet rich in fish, vegetables, and dairy products, the people of Iceland enjoy a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer.

Meanwhile, a strong culture of physical activity can be seen, with many people participating in regular outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing, promoting both physical and mental health.

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4/ Japan

Average life expectancy: 84 years

With a culture that places great value on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Japan is consistently ranked as one of the healthiest countries in the world, coming 4th out of 169 countries in the 2019 Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index.

Japan has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, with an average life expectancy of over 84 years. This can be attributed to factors such as a low obesity rate, a healthy diet, and access to high-quality healthcare. As such, Japan also has a relatively low prevalence of health risks such as tobacco use and obesity, which are major contributors to chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Culture has a huge part to play in how the Japanese stay so healthy. Japanese cuisine is well-known for its focus on fresh, healthy ingredients and balanced meals. Traditional Japanese dishes include a lot of fish, vegetables, and whole grains, which are rich in nutrients and low in saturated fats.

The Japanese also have a cultural practice called “hara hachi bu,” which means eating until you are 80% full, which can help prevent overeating and promote a healthy weight. People in Japan tend to exercise regularly, even in their old age, with many people taking part in “radio callisthenics,” even on their commutes into work.

In addition to these factors, Japan has a comprehensive healthcare system that provides affordable and accessible medical coverage to its citizens. The country has a high number of doctors and hospital beds per capita, and the government invests heavily in public health, with a reported spending of 10.74% of GDP on health as of 2019.

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5/ Sweden

Average life expectancy: 82 years

Another Nordic nation, Sweden, takes the spot as our fifth healthiest country. Sweden has a well-funded and comprehensive healthcare system, with universal access to healthcare for all citizens. According to OECD data, Sweden spent 9.9% of its GDP on healthcare in 2019, which is higher than the average healthcare spending for OECD countries.

Swedes have a healthy lifestyle, with a diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, all of which are associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases. Additionally, Swedes have a strong culture of physical activity, with high participation in outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and skiing, which can promote good physical and mental health.

Akin with its breathtaking natural landscapes, Sweden boasts a relatively low level of air pollution, which is associated with better respiratory health. Sweden also has strong policies related to environmental protection, including efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote renewable energy, all of which have positive impacts on both the environment and public health.

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6/ Australia

Average life expectancy: 83 years

There are a number of reasons Australia appears on our list of top 10 healthiest countries, from their high-quality of life, to the clean environment and easy access to healthy food. And that’s before we get to their high standards of healthcare.

The Australian government has a strong focus on public health, and has implemented a number of public health initiatives to encourage healthy behaviour and prevent disease. These include anti-smoking campaigns, vaccination programs, and campaigns to promote healthy eating and physical activity. The National Immunisation Program, for example, provides free vaccines to all children and many adults to prevent infectious diseases.

Beyond this, Australia has a publicly-funded healthcare system called Medicare, which provides free or low-cost access to medical services for all citizens and permanent residents. According to the Commonwealth Fund, Australia ranks third out of 11 high-income countries in terms of healthcare system performance.

According to IPSOS, more than eight in ten Australians (81%) rate the quality of healthcare in their country as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ – the highest result of all 27 countries in the survey.

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7/ Switzerland

Average life expectancy: 83 years

Back to Europe for number seven – Switzerland is sure to be found on any list of healthiest countries. Known for its outdoorsy lifestyle, Switzerland offers many opportunities for hiking, skiing and cycling, promoting a culture of good physical and mental wellbeing.

When it comes to healthcare, Swiss citizens are well looked after. The Swiss public healthcare system is based on mandatory health insurance, which means that everyone has access to basic healthcare services, regardless of their income or employment status. What’s more, Switzerland has one of the highest ratios of healthcare providers per capita in the world, with 4.3 doctors and 17.9 nurses and midwives per 1,000 people, according to the WHO.

Overall, a combination of universal healthcare, access to health services, a high quality of life, and a clean environment all contribute to making Switzerland one of the healthiest countries in the world.

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8/ Norway

Average life expectancy: 83 years

The Nordic nations keep on coming. Norway’s universal healthcare system, enviable outdoors lifestyle, nutritious diet and easy access to health and wellness services see them steal a spot as one of our healthiest countries in 2023.

As we’ve already mentioned, Norway has a public health system based on taxation, giving all residents access to basic healthcare needs. And, with an impressive ratio of health professionals per capita, with 4.9 doctors and 18.3 nurses and midwives per 1,000 people, you can rest assured your standard of healthcare in Norway will be very much on point.

Another winning point for Norway is for their comprehensive social welfare system that provides economic and social support to its citizens, including health and disability benefits, unemployment benefits, and pensions. This can help reduce stress and financial strain, which can have a positive impact on overall health.

All this on top of a clean environment and culture based around outdoor activities and fresh nutritious food, it’s safe to say that Norway has very much earnt its status as one of the healthiest countries in the world.

Young women morning jogging in the park together in Singapore

9/ Singapore

Average life expectancy: 84 years

According to the WHO, Singapore’s healthcare system is ranked 6th in the world in terms of quality and accessibility. This is due to the high standard of medical training, advanced medical technology, and efficient healthcare delivery.

Singapore is known for its clean air and water, which can help prevent respiratory diseases and other health problems. The country also has low rates of infectious diseases, including communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. This is due in part to the strong public health initiatives and healthcare programs, such as vaccination campaigns and disease surveillance programs.

A rising expat destination, those moving to the country will be relieved to hear Singapore has a reputation for being a safe and low-crime country, helping reduce stress and promote a sense of well-being among citizens old and new.

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10/ Canada

Average life expectancy: 82 years

Taking the last spot on our list, Canada is not only one of the healthiest countries in the world, it’s also one of the happiest, with a culture of outdoor activity, a generally healthy diet, and clean environment all contributing to good mental and physical health.

Unlike its neighbours in the USA, the Canadian healthcare system is publicly funded and accessible to all citizens and permanent residents. This universal healthcare system is a cornerstone of Canada’s healthcare system, and it has helped to keep Canadians healthy and reduce healthcare costs.

Canada’s high life expectancy is another key factor in its ranking as one of the healthiest countries in the world, with an average life expectancy of 82 years. This is due in part to the country’s focus on preventative healthcare, such as immunizations and cancer screenings. Canada also has low rates of infant mortality and low levels of air pollution, both of which contribute to good health outcomes.

Finally, Canada is known for its strong public health initiatives that promote healthy behaviours and prevent disease. These initiatives include anti-smoking campaigns, education programs about healthy eating and physical activity, and vaccination programs. Canada also has strict food safety regulations, which help to ensure that the country’s food supply is safe and healthy.

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Wherever you move, go with total peace of mind

At William Russell, we have over 30 years’ experience of helping expatriates finding best places in the world to move abroad and settle into their new lives overseas by providing world-class international health insurance. Plus, we produce lots of expert material to help you and your family adapt to life abroad. Check out our list of countries with the best healthcare in the world.

Making the move to another country can be challenging. But no matter where you go, you can take one thing off your mind. Speak to us today to find out more about how international health insurance could support you.

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