Global health - Statistics & Facts

Published by John Elflein, Sep 25, 2018
In recent decades, advances in technology and medicine have increased the life expectancy and general health of people around the world. However, great inequalities in health and health care based on geography and wealth still exist. For example, all of the twenty countries with the lowest life expectancy in 2016 were located in Africa, while those with the highest life expectancy were found mostly in Europe and the wealthy countries of Asia. Rates of various diseases also differ depending on region and income, but some of the most common negative health conditions around the world include high blood pressure, sleep related conditions, migraines, and high cholesterol.

According to the most recent figures, the United States spends the highest percentage of its GDP on health among OECD countries. Health spending per capita in the U.S. amounted to around 9,500 U.S. dollars in 2015, compared to 5,350 dollars in Germany and 4,530 dollars in Canada. The United States is also the country that spends the most on diabetes health expenditure, by a large margin. Although obesity is a growing problem in many countries, the United States still reports the highest rates around the globe. However, rates of other common health risks are much higher in other countries. For example, the smoking population of men is highest in Indonesia and China, while Moldova and Lithuania are the countries with the highest per capita alcohol consumption.

Just as there are inequalities in life expectancy around the globe, there also exist differences in the leading causes of death based on wealth. While the three leading causes of death in low-income countries are lower respiratory infections, diarrhoeal diseases, and heart disease, the leading causes in upper income countries are heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s. Included in the leading causes of death in low income countries are also HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, all diseases which are not included in the leading causes for upper-middle or upper income countries. In 2016, the countries with the highest incidence rate of tuberculosis were South Africa, the Philippines, and Mozambique, while Lesotho, Swaziland, and South Africa reported the highest prevalence of new HIV infections.

Interesting statistics

In the following 7 chapters, you will quickly find the 57 most important statistics relating to "Global health".

Global health

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Important key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "Global health" and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

Health care spending and costs



Health risks


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