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Ticino has second-highest life expectancy in Europe

Two men swimming
Secret of a long life? Two men go for a traditional January swim in Lago Maggiore at Brissago, canton Ticino Keystone

With an average life expectancy of 85.2 years, the southern Swiss canton of Ticino is the European region with the second-highest life expectancy. Elderly residents there are outlived only by people in Madrid, who can expect to make it to 85.5, according to the EU statistical office Eurostat.

Overall, among men, Italians have the best prospects for a long life. The autonomous province of Trento in northern Italy leads at 82.7 years, even ahead of Madrid. Among women, on the other hand, Spanish women have the longest life span in Europe at 88.1 years on average in Madrid and 87.3 in Navarre.

In Switzerland, the Lake Geneva region was the “most durable” after Ticino with a life expectancy of 84.2 years, followed by Zurich and Central Switzerland both at 84 years and northwestern Switzerland at 83.9 years. In Switzerland as a whole, people born in 2019 could expect to live for 83.8 years.

The EU average in 2018 was 81. Women had an average of 5.5 years more time on earth than men: 83.7 years compared with 78.2 years.

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Long retirement

When it came to a long life as a pensioner, Switzerland also did well, with a resident of Ticino who had survived to the age of 65 able to expect to live, on average, a further 22.5 years. The figure was 22 years in the Lake Geneva region.

Ticino was outdone, however, by Madrid, Ile-de-France, parts of London and Corsica.

Eurostat calculated consistently poor values for Eastern Europe: while Madrilenians had an average of 23.2 years to live when they retired at the age of 65, the average for residents in Eastern Europe (retiring at the same age) was only 17-18 years – with the exception of Greece, which achieved Central European values. The Bulgarian regions of Severozapaden and Severen Tsentralen came last, where pensioners were given an average of only 15.7 years.

Why do the Swiss live so long? Different studies point to some of the quite surprising reasons: wealth, a sense of well-being and diet – a love of dairy products including cheese.

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Stylized drawing of an old couple and the swiss map with cheese, milk, money, shamrock and a man doing workout

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Why the Swiss live longer

This content was published on Since the beginning of the 20th century life expectancy from birth in Switzerland has almost doubled. In this period, it rose from 49 to 85 for women and from 46 to 81 for men. According the World Health Statistics 2015 report, Switzerland is just behind Japan with an average life expectancy of 83 years. That’s…

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