Life expectancy gap at least a DECADE for baby boys in parts of UK

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Babies born in some parts of the UK are expected to die at least a decade earlier than those in areas with the highest life expectancy, official figures reveal.

While boys born in Westminster can expect to live to the age of 84.7, those born in Glasgow have a life expectancy of just 73.1 years.

The figures, calculated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), look at children born between 2018 and 2020.  

In five other areas, four of which are also in Scotland, there is a difference of 10 or more years in life expectancy compared to the affluent London borough.

Boys born in Dundee City, Blackpool, West Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde and North Lanarkshire can expect to live until they are about 74. 

Other areas with high life expectancies for boys include Kensington and Chelsea, Rutland, South Cambridgeshire and Camden.

The startling differences represent an ever-widening gap between areas with the highest and lowest life expectancy.

The ONS report only includes data from the first year of the pandemic. Covid is thought to have widened inequalities even further.

Best and worst areas in the UK for life expectancy among baby boys

Best and worst areas in the UK for life expectancy among baby boys

The above graph looks at 'healthy life expectancy' for baby boys - how long they are expected to live before developing comorbidities

The above graph looks at ‘healthy life expectancy’ for baby boys – how long they are expected to live before developing comorbidities

Between 2015-17 the gap for boys was 9.8 years compared to 11.6 years in 2018-20.

For baby girls, the lowest life expectancy was also recorded in Glasgow City at 78.3 years compared to a high of 87.9 years in Kensington and Chelsea.

In England, the figures show that infants under one in the North East had the lowest life expectancy.

A baby boy in the North East is expected to live 77.6 years, compared with 80.6 years for baby boys in the South West – a gap of around three years.

A baby girl was expected to live 81.5 years, compared with 84.3 years for baby girls in London – a difference of 2.8 years.

Overall, a boy in the UK born between 2018 and 2020 is expected to live until he is 79.0 years old, down from 79.2 years for the period 2015-2017.

Estimates for females are broadly unchanged, with a baby girl born in 2018-20 likely to live for 82.9 years, the same as in 2015-17.

Commenting on the figures Pamela Cobb, from the Centre for Ageing and Demography at the ONS, said: ‘Life expectancy has increased in the UK over the last 40 years, albeit at a slower pace in the last decade.

‘However, the coronavirus pandemic led to a greater number of deaths than normal in 2020.

‘Consequently, in the latest estimates, we see virtually no improvement in life expectancy for females while for males life expectancy has fallen back to levels reported for 2012 to 2014, at 79 years.

‘This is the first time we have seen a decline when comparing non-overlapping time periods since the series began in the early 1980s.’

She added that it is ‘possible that life expectancy will return to an improving trend in the future’ with the end of the coronavirus pandemic, which led to unusually high levels of mortality.

Covid crisis has slashed life expectancy in four-fifths of countries 

Covid has slashed life expectancy in four-fifths of industrialised nations and erased a decade of progress in extending Britons’ lifespans, according to a major report which lays bare the pandemic’s impact on global health.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said Covid ‘contributed, directly and indirectly’ to a 16 per cent rise in average deaths among its 38 member countries.

Overall life expectancy has taken a hit in 24 out of the 30 nations (80 per cent) for which there was reliable data in the year-and-a-half of the pandemic so far, the report found.

It fell the most in the US, with Americans losing 1.6 years of life per capita, followed by Spain where it fell one-and-a-half years, Lithuania and Poland (both 1.3 years), as well as in Belgium and Italy (1.2).

In the UK, life expectancy dropped by a whole year during the pandemic, with Britons now living to an average age of 80.4 — the lowest figure since 2010.

The findings put the UK and the US in the bottom 10 countries for overall life expectancy, despite being among the richest in the OECD. The only nations which did not take a hit to life expectancy were Norway, Denmark, Finland and Latvia, as well as Japan and Costa Rica.

In terms of confirmed Covid deaths, the US and UK had the 10th and 11th highest tolls, respectively, both recording around 2,000 deaths per million people.

Will YOU live until you’re 100? Online calculator works out your average life expectancy

One in five girls born in Britain are now expected to reach the age of 100, according to Government analysts who have created a calculator that estimates how long we live.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says boys born in the same year have a slightly lower chance of becoming a centenarian — 13.6 per cent (one in eight) — in line with the historic trend of women living longer than men.

On average, boys who were born in 2020 can expect to reach the age of 87 and girls are likely to breach 90, the agency said. 

Despite figures showing children born today are likely to live to an older age than their parents, experts today warned life expectancy improvements have stalled. 

Progress in the UK had already stalled before Covid took off, prompting much debate about the causes. Some attributed it to health cuts and austerity.

But experts fear the pandemic has exacerbated the issue and there are already signs it has reversed some of the gains made in recent decades. 

Separate figures from the United Nations (UN) Population Division suggests Britain’s overall life expectancy across ages and sexes is around 81-and-a-half. 

It means the UK has the 29th highest life expectancy in the world, with Hong Kong topping the global chart at 85.3 years. For comparison, the US ranks 46th, with an expectancy of 79.8 years.  

Select your age and sex below to see what your average life expectancy is: 

Separate figures from the United Nations (UN) Population Division suggests Britain's overall life expectancy across ages and sexes is 81-and-a-half. It means the UK has the 29th highest life expectancy in the world, with Hong Kong topping the chart at 85.3 years. For comparison, the US ranks 46th, with an expectancy of 79.8 years

Separate figures from the United Nations (UN) Population Division suggests Britain’s overall life expectancy across ages and sexes is 81-and-a-half. It means the UK has the 29th highest life expectancy in the world, with Hong Kong topping the chart at 85.3 years. For comparison, the US ranks 46th, with an expectancy of 79.8 years

These two maps of life expectancy in England show both the current situation and how it has changed since 2002. The top map shows the life expectancy of women (left) and men (right) colour coded with red tones representing lower than average and bluer tones representing higher than average. The bottom map shows the life expectancy change for women (left and men (right) between 2002 and 2019. It shows that women have seen smaller gains in life expectancy than men.

These two maps of life expectancy in England show both the current situation and how it has changed since 2002. The top map shows the life expectancy of women (left) and men (right) colour coded with red tones representing lower than average and bluer tones representing higher than average. The bottom map shows the life expectancy change for women (left and men (right) between 2002 and 2019. It shows that women have seen smaller gains in life expectancy than men.

ONS data suggests 65-year-olds in the UK can expect to live on average a further 19.7 years if they are male, or 22 years if they’re female. This is projected to increase to 21.9 extra years for men and 24.1 years for women who are aged 65 in 2045.

Analysts expect life expectancies for children who are born in 2045 to hit 90.1 for boys and 92.6 for girls.

But the data also suggests girls born in 2020 are now expected to die nearly five years earlier than predicted back in 2012.

David Finch, assistant director of healthy lives at the Health Foundation, said: ‘Today’s figures show that children born today can still expect to live longer than their parents.

‘However, people living in the UK today are not expected to live for as long as previously predicted.

‘The unprecedented increase in deaths caused by Covid should end as we move beyond the pandemic but there will be a lasting impact from the decade of stalling life expectancy prior to the pandemic.’

He continued: ‘The government faces a massive challenge in delivering its promise to improve life expectancy for people in the UK.

‘Improving health needs to be a key consideration in all government policy and investment decisions, the vast majority of which have the potential to help or hinder efforts.

‘The pandemic has laid bare the extent of underlying poor health in the UK, with tragic consequences.

‘Good health is vital to the country’s prosperity and government cannot delay any further in investing in our future.’

It comes after research suggested life expectancy was already falling before Covid struck in a fifth of communities in England.

Imperial College London scientists analysed mortality trends for all 7,000 districts scattered across the country.

Results showed life expectancy for women declined in approximately 18.7 per cent of neighbourhoods between 2014 and 2019, by an average of two months. 

Meanwhile, in men it fell in around 11.5 per cent of communities, by an average of a month-and-a-half.

Experts claimed there was a gap of around 27 years between the richest and poorest parts of England – where the average life expectancy sits at around 79.8 for men and 83.4 for women.

People living in the north of England and in urban areas had the lowest life expectancy.

Lead author Professor Majid Ezzati said the findings were a warning sign of an ongoing policy failure to address health and socioeconomic disadvantages across the nation.

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