North-South life expectancy divide

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We're familiar with the North-South divide for salaries and house prices, yet your location in the country has a decidedly more serious impact: life expectancy.

Residents in London's Kensington and Chelsea live on average over a decade more than Glaswegians, according to a shocking new government study.
The study warns that "health inequalities across the UK are increasing" as it emerged that the gap in life expectancy between Britain's richest and its poorest areas has grown to as much as 13 years.

Life expectancy in the south-east is 79.7 for males and 83.5 for females, while in the north-west it stands at just 77.9 for males and 81.1 for females.

Although figures the from the Office for National Statistics show average lifespans have increased by more than a year in the past half decade, growth in some areas has been considerably faster than in others.

The average male life expectancy at birth now stands at 78.2 years, while for women it has reached 82.3 years. But Scotland still lags behind the rest of the UK, with life expectancy at birth of just 75.8 years for males and 80.4 years for females.

Wealth and health
Kensington and Chelsea has the longest life expectancy by some way, with males expected to live to 85.1 and females to 89.8, which the study claims is the result of its 'very affluent' residents. The neighbouring borough Westminster is second, followed by areas of Dorset and Surrey.

In comparison, in central Glasgow life expectancy is just 71.6 for males and 78 for females. Several other areas of Scotland are also lagging far behind the average, as well as industrial cities such as Manchester and Belfast.

The ONS says that the UK's health gap is due to "socio-economic status, health behaviour (for example, alcohol consumption and smoking), environmental conditions, the proportion of people living with deprivation, and the availability of local services and resources."

The report's authors also suggest that London's advantage is owed not only to the capital's relative wealth but to "the movement into London of healthy, employed individuals at low risk of death".

How long left?
The statistics covered life expectancy from birth in the period 2008-10, and compared them with the figures from 2004-6.

The study also looked at life expectancy for those aged 65, which has also increased across the UK. A man who is currently 65 can expect to live a further 18 years, while a woman is likely to live another 20.6 years.

According to the Daily Mail, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said the figures should send a "stark warning" to a Government "intent on forcing people to retire far later."

He said: "Life expectancy in deprived areas of the UK is increasing at half the pace of the wealthiest parts of London and the South. People living in these areas can also expect their retirement to be a decade shorter."

Average UK life expectancy - male/female
  1. North east - 77.2 / 81.2
  2. North West - 77.0 / 81.1
  3. Yorks and Humber - 77.7 / 81.8
  4. East Midlands - 78.4 / 82.4
  5. West Midlands - 77.9 / 83.2
  6. East - 79.6 / 83.2
  7. London - 79.0 / 83.3
  8. South East - 79.7 / 83.5
  9. South West - 79.5 / 83.5
  10. England - 78.6 / 82.6
  11. Wales - 77.6 / 81.8
  12. Scotland - 75.8 / 80.4
  13. N. Ireland* - 77.1 / 81.5
*provisional
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