Hong Kong citizens now living the longest of anybody worldwide
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Hong Kong citizens now living the longest of anybody worldwide

HONG KONGERS are living longer than anybody else on earth according to data released the Japanese health ministry.

The average life expectancy at birth in 2016 for Hong Kong was 81.32 years for males and an impressive 87.34 years for females – the longest in the world for the second year in a row. East Asian neighbour Japan meanwhile came in second at 80.98 and 87.14 for men and women, respectively.

Australians can also hope for long lives, with life expectancy for males at 80.4 and for females at 84.5 years, according to 2013-2014 data; while South Korean women can expect to outlive men by more than six years at 85.2 for females compared with 79 years for males in 2015.

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“In general, it is rather difficult to compare life expectancies accurately among different countries. One of the reasons is the periods based on are not always accordant with each other,” acknowledged the ministry in its report.


People take a break on bench seats at Tokyo’s Sugamo district, an area popular among the Japanese elderly, in Tokyo August 29, 2014. Source: Reuters/Issei Kato

Singapore also fared well with life expectancy for males at birth 80.6 years and for women 85.1 years.

Lam Tai-hing from the University of Hong Kong told the South China Morning Post that it was “not very fair” to compare the Chinese city-state of 7.4 million people to other countries.

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Lam attributed Hong Kongers’ long lives to low rates of smoking at around 10 percent, compared with 20 percent in Japan.

Nevertheless in 2016, smoking prevalence among Japanese men dipped below 30 percent for the first time since government surveys began in 1965.

Extended life expectancy in Japan could be attributed to advancements in medical technology, healthier lifestyles and fewer people committing suicide, a ministry official told the Japan Times.

On the other end of the economic scale, larger and poorer countries in the Asia Pacific had far lower life expectancies than in Hong Kong, Japan or Australia.

The life expectancy at birth for Bangladeshis in 2013 was 68.8 for men and 71.4 for women. Chinese citizens live 73.65 and 79.43 for males and females, respectively according to 2015 data.