Singapore is the world's sixth Blue Zone, according to Dan Buettner, a journalist and researcher who popularized the use of the term to describe regions in the world where people live longer and healthier lives.
Unlike the original five, which developed organically through traditions and practices that have flourished for years, Buettner describes Singapore as a "manufactured city," in the Netflix documentary "Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones."
Life expectancy in Singapore stands at 80.7 years for men and 85.2 for women, based on the latest government data for 2022. In contrast, the average life expectancy in the country was just 65 years old in 1960, per data from the World Bank.
Over 80% of Singapore's residents live in high-rise public-housing apartment blocks. Built by the Housing Development Board, these public housing apartments are colloquially known as HDB flats. In Singapore, these estates are intentionally designed to encourage social interaction among its residents.
Each HDB estate typically consists of a few identical apartment blocks clustered together. Dedicated communal spaces such as playgrounds, fitness corners, and community gardens can be found on the estates.
Despite the highly urbanized setting, these shared spaces give people from all walks of life a chance to get to know each other. In Singapore, the government also has a proximity housing grant that encourages couples buying resale apartments on the open market to live with or near their parents or children. This scheme is a way that the government is tackling the problems of an aging population.
Under this policy, these home buyers can receive up to 30,000 Singapore dollars, or $22,000, in grants if they live with their parents or children.
If the house that the couple is buying is within four kilometres, or about two and a half miles, of where their parents or children live, they can receive up to SG$20,000 in grants. This scheme is also available for singles, although the maximum grant amount they can receive is halved.
Singapore has a well-connected public transport system that's being used by nearly half the country's 5.6 million population, in contrast to the US average of 5%. There are only around 471,000 households that own cars in Singapore, and that's due to the high prices of cars in the country. On average, a car in Singapore can cost five times the amount it retails for in the US. This, encourages people to walk — and get that bit of physical movement daily that they need to stay healthy.
Singapore's hawker centers are known for selling cheap and delicious meals under one roof. In an effort to get the population to eat healthier, the government introduced a "Healthier Choice" symbol to denote healthier food options so that consumers can make better-informed choices. The layout of hawker centers also encourages people in the community to come together.