November 5, 2007

GNP versus Life Expectancy

Gross national product (GNP) per capita, to use the Wikipedia definition, "is the dollar value of a country's final output of goods and services in a year, divided by its population. It reflects the average income of a country's citizens." Lets see how Norway's doing compared to other countries in GNP, and see how that compares to a list of countries by life expectancy.

If we look at a list of countries by GNP per capita we see that Luxembourg comes first ($56,900), and Norway is second ($41,900). The USA comes third ($41,500) and my obviously wealthy land of origin, the Republic of Ireland ($40,000) comes fourth. I've also lived in the UK, which only scrapes into the charts at #16 ($30,300). Friends of mine in various countries abroad will be interested to see where they slot in: Iceland is 5th, Canada 8th, Japan 12th, Australia 13th... sorry but it seems I am more upmarket than the rest of you peasants.

When we look at the list of countries by life expectancy, a different picture emerges. The average Norwegian can expect to reach the age of 80.2, which is only #14 in the charts. The Japanese enjoy the longest lives at number one (82.6), followed by Hong Kong (PRC in brackets of course) at number two (82.2), Iceland at number three (81.8) and Switzerland at number four (81.7). Those rich Luxembourg bastards limp into the charts at the unhealthy #32, kicking the bucket at age 78.7. The Americans? #38, death arriving early on their 78.2 birthday. My beloved Irish fare only slightly better, buying the farm at 78.9, which is #29 in life's hit parade. Bizarrely, life in the impoverished United Kingdom guarantees on average 79.4 years (#22). But for a Japanese depressive to properly knock five years off his or her life, they need to be living in Slovenia, Kuwait, Barbados, or Brunei, numbers 40-43 in the charts, where you'd be dying at the age of 77.

Predictably, wealth doesn't add up to long life, but you knew that. However however however, that's not to say poverty doesn't mean a short life. In Swaziland you earn $5,181 a year and die at 39.6. In Timor-Leste it's four hundred dollars and 60.8 years. Take your pick.

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Posted by barry at November 5, 2007 3:02 FM

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