CNN, meanwhile, compares life expectancy for the ethnically diverse US with two rather homogeneous societies:
Data from 2007 show Americans' life expectancy is 3.7 years shorter for men and 5.2 years shorter for women than in the leading nations -- Switzerland for men and Japan for women.
Using UN data on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy :
If we take the US numbers as a whole it is similar to Denmark and Luxembourg - both developed European Nations.
If we take Male population only, the same.
For Female Population only, the same.
Similar results for CIA data on the same site.
Incidentally neither data set puts Switzerland near the top!
Comparing apples and oranges...Both Switzerland and Japan have relatively homogeneous populations -when we break out white and black populations there is a consistent 6 year difference between white male and black male life expectancy and 4 years between white female and black female. It is the latter which is dragging the average down...both poverty and violence related.