Sharp drop in life expectancy across parts of UK ‘unacceptable’
Gloucester, Southend-on-Sea and Dundee are among the six areas across the UK where life expectancy at birth has significantly decreased, latest statistics indicate.
The sharpest fall in life expectancy for men at birth was felt in Gloucester, Hartlepool, Norwich and Dundee, between 2012 to 2014 and 2015 to 2017, while Blackburn with Darwen and Southend-on-Sea ranked poorly for women.
In Gloucester, Dundee and Norwich, the average age fell by 1.4 years, to 77.6 years, 73.9 years and 78.3 years respectively. The town of Hartlepool fell by 1.5 years in the same period, to 76.1 years.
For women in Blackburn with Darwen, a year was lost, tumbling from 81.1 to 80.1, and Southend-on-Sea saw a fall of seven months, standing at 82.4 years.
Of the 389 local authorities ranked by the Office for National Statistics, 19 areas experienced a significant increase.
London Borough of Camden ranked first across all local authority areas in the UK for women once again, while Haringey, North London, had the largest positive change, jumping from 301st place, to 54th.
“It is unacceptable that there are still deep-rooted health inequalities across the UK,” George McNamara, director of policy and influencing at the Independent Age charity, said.
“Healthy life expectancy should not be a postcode lottery, and it’s absolutely essential that we understand and address these inequalities.
“Older age is not just about living longer, but also about having a good quality of life in older age, no matter where you live.”
Meanwhile, a regional breakdown of numbers showed that the South West experienced the lowest rise in life expectancy growth across England since 2001-03.
Male life expectancy in the region now stands at 80.2 years, compared with 77.4 years between 2001 to 2003 – losing its top spot in regional rankings and falling to fourth. Female life expectancy also felt a smaller life expectancy increase, resulting in its place falling from first to third.
London and the South East now take the lead, with the capital ranking at number one for women and number two for men, increasing by an average of 3.5 years and 4.5 years respectively from 2001 to 2003 and 2015 to 2017.
The South East maintains a high position, keeping its place at number two for women, going from 81.6 years in 2001 to 2003, to 84 years in 2015 to 2017. Male life expectancy at birth rose to the number one spot, from 77.4 years to 80.6 years within the same period.
Despite the South West’s fall, life expectancy still remains higher than northern regions of England, as the North East keeps its spot at the bottom for men and drops one spot to the bottom for women too.