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Japan, San Marino top longevity lists

May 19, 2007|From the Associated Press

GENEVA — Boys born in San Marino, a tiny republic surrounded by Italy, are expected to live to age 80, the world's longest male life expectancy at birth, but newborn girls in 31 other countries have even better prospects, the World Health Organization said Friday.

Sierra Leone registered the shortest male life expectancy at birth, 37 years -- the same as that of girls in Swaziland, who were at the bottom of the female list -- in WHO's "World Health Statistics 2007."

Females in Japan, who continue to lead the world tables, have a life expectancy at birth of 86 years, the same as last year's statistics. San Marino men, who tied with Japanese men last year at 79, added a year to get ahead.

Newborn boys in the U.S. have a 75-year life expectancy, U.S. newborn girls 80 -- 33rd and 32nd place, respectively.

The life expectancy figures were based on 2005, the latest year available.

Besides Japan, following San Marino on the male side were Australia, Iceland, Sweden and Switzerland at 79 years. Cuba was among the countries that tied the U.S.

Countries with long female life expectancies include Monaco at 85 years. Costa Rica and Denmark tied the United States.

Afghanistan and Sierra Leone are the toughest places for babies, with an infant mortality rate of 165 in 1,000 live births, compared with the two babies who die per 1,000 born in Singapore or Iceland, which shared first place. In the U.S., seven babies die per 1,000, the same rate as in Belarus, Slovakia and Lithuania -- a tie for 38th place.

Sierra Leone is worse than Afghanistan for mothers' survival, with the worst maternal mortality rate: 2,000 per 100,000 live births in 2000, the latest year for which statistics were available. The rate for Afghanistan, second-worst, was 1,900. Ireland did best at four deaths. The U.S. was in 29th place with 14 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.

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