It takes around 45 minutes to cross Andorra, the landlocked mountainous country surrounded by France and Spain. The principality is so small that the older generation can almost always tell where members of the extended family come from. Younger people who leave Andorra for work fantasize about retiring back home. The region is quiet and relaxed, and rarely makes the news.
But when it does, it’s for the best of reasons.
Andorra often ranks highest in life expectancy, at an average of 81.2 years, according to data by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, a research organization in Seattle. The World Health Organization says Andorrans live to an average of 83 years, while children below 5 years of age face only a 2.8 percent probability of death. Life expectancy at birth increased by three years between 2000 and 2012, WHO added, with adult risk factors mainly relating to raised blood pressure and obesity.
Many reasons for the country’s flattering profile have been listed in the past – from advanced health care to a healthy diet – yet numbers alone don’t seem to be enough to describe life in the region. So we found an Andorran, Nil Molné Ballesté, a 29-year old data scientist in Berlin, to best explain what makes his country special.
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