The Healthiest Countries in the World

There are many things that can affect the overall health of a country’s residents. Everything from the quality of healthcare provisions to public health policy, and national diet trends to exercise practices can make a country healthy or unhealthy.  

Using data from the healthcare ranking of the Legatum Prosperity Index, we’ve found the healthiest countries in the world. The category ranks nations by looking at how healthy their citizens are and whether they have access to services that are necessary to maintain good health. It takes into account healthcare systems, mortality rates, illnesses and risk factors.

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Singapore ranks number one as the healthiest country in the world. There are many reasons that Singapore ranks so highly, including the fact that it has one of the best healthcare systems in the world.

It offers universal healthcare and public services are generally on par with private healthcare, although fees are still payable for public services. As such, many who move to Singapore choose private international health insurance to cover their costs.

The government has shown a commitment to funding its healthcare services, especially to care for its elderly population. There has been huge funding into research and development of health and medical sciences. Singapore has the 5th highest life expectancy in the world, and has been a constant in the top 5 highest life expectancies for years.


Japan is the second healthiest country in the world. Japan is well known for its great healthcare provision and long life expectancy. Currently, it has the third longest life expectancy in the world at 84.95.

Part of what makes Japan one of the healthiest countries in the world is its diet. The average Japanese diet consists of rice, seafood, and vegetables, with a focus on locally sourced food. As such, people in Japan are at lower risk of death by ischaemic heart disease, which is one of the leading causes of death in the world according to the WHO.

Physical activity is also a staple part of most people’s lives in Japan, which helps the country to be healthy. Around 98% of children walk or bike to school, and there has been a programme in place since the 1950s to encourage the practice. Going to the gym to workout is not a common activity in Japan, but instead, people walk and engage in daily movement and stretching routines.

South Korea

South Korea is the third healthiest country in the world. It had the best healthcare system in the world last year and it consistently ranks highly.

Hospitals are well equipped and staff are knowledgeable and well trained. It has the second-highest number of hospital beds per 1000 people. South Korea has some of the highest survival rates for various types of cancer and has one of the lowest rates of HIV/AIDS in the world.

South Korea has a public healthcare system available to all residents living there for longer than six months, plus private provisions. There are around 2.6 doctors and 8.8 nurses per 1,000 people in South Korea. However, there is some disparity between healthcare in rural areas compared to urban areas. There are 37% more primary care doctors in cities than in rural locations and private facilities are mainly in the larger towns and cities.


Taiwan is the fourth healthiest country in the world. It offers universal healthcare for its citizens, making healthcare provision easily accessible for all, regardless of income. The national health service is generally well-regarded by users and nearly all health services, including dental care, elderly home care, Western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, are included.

Taiwan has many good-quality hospitals and clinics, although there is a disparity between rural and urban areas. In the capital city Taipei, there are 42.89 healthcare providers per kilometer but in rural Kaohsiung-Pingtung-Taitung there are just 4.9.


China is the fifth healthiest country in the world. The Government has made significant investment in the healthcare system and public health policy. This has seen the average life expectancy increase from 67.81 in 1982 to 78.7 in 2023.

One of the government’s major policies is the Healthy China 2030 programme, which aims to address major health issues such as chronic diseases and environmental health hazards. Steps have been taken to improve the air quality across the country and to improve the cleanliness of the water. There has also been action to improve food safety standards and monitor the risk of foodborne diseases.

The healthcare system has both Western and traditional Chinese provisions as two parallel systems. Hospitals and clinics in urban areas are typically well-resourced with modern equipment and provide the best treatments. However, in rural areas, the quality of treatment can decline.

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