The life expectancy gap in England “a growing chasm” exacerbated by Covid

The life expectancy gap in England “a growing chasm” exacerbated by Covid

The richest people in England live a decade longer than the poorest, and the life expectancy gap between them has widened to become “a growing chasm”, the research has found.

The difference in expected lifespan between the richest and poorest areas has more than doubled since the early 2000s, according to an analysis of official data from the King’s Fund.

“There is a growing chasm in the health inequalities revealed by the data,” said Veena Raleigh, a member of the think tank specializing in the stark differentials between the health of the rich and the poor.

“Our analysis shows that life expectancy has continued to increase in the richer areas, but has practically stagnated in the disadvantaged areas of the north, so that the gap in life expectancy between the richer regions and the country’s poorest grew by almost twice as much. and a half years over the past two decades.

The analysis underscores the scale of the challenge facing Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who in a recent keynote address in Blackpool on ‘leveling up’ health pledged to tackle ‘ disparity ”- dramatic differences in results based on geography, ethnicity and income.


For example, in Westminster, the life expectancy of wealthy men rose from 77.3 to 84.7 years between 2001-03 and 2018-20, a jump of 7.4 years. But underprivileged Blackpool men have only seen their expected longevity increase over the same period from 72 to 74.1 years, an increase of just 2.1 years. Overall, the gap in life expectancy has widened from 5.3 to 10.7 years in less than 20 years.

Raleigh found the same pattern for women in both places when she looked at data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). While the life expectancy of women in Westminster rose from 82.3 to 87.1 years, among those in Blackpool it only increased from 78.4 to 79 years, an increase of just 0.6 year. This means that the difference in expected lifespan has more than doubled from 3.9 to 8.1 years.

Covid has exacerbated the north-south divide, as well as the “deprivation divide,” in life expectancy, Raleigh added. In 2001-03, the gap was widest – at 8.2 years – between Hart in Hampshire and Manchester. But it is now the 10.7-year differential between Westminster and Blackpool. Likewise, the biggest gap in female life expectancy widened from 6.6 years to 8.9 years between women from Kensington and Chelsea to London and Blackpool.

London is seeing a significant increase in life expectancy, despite high deprivation, large minority ethnic populations and reeling from the impact of Covid. This could be because it has a younger population with a healthier lifestyle, better access and quality of NHS care, with older and sicker people moving out and being replaced by people younger and healthier, Raleigh said.

Its findings come after the latest data from the ONS, released last month, showed that Covid led to the first drop in male life expectancy in the UK since records began 40 years ago. A boy born today is expected to live to age 79, up from 79.2 when the ONS looked at life expectancy in 2015-17. Women’s life expectancy has remained unchanged since then, with girls born today expected to live 82.9 years, despite the pandemic.

In a report last week, the Longevity Science Panel, a group of doctors, statisticians and NHS leaders, found that life expectancy for men and women fell by 1.3 years and 0, respectively. 9 years in 2020 as a direct result of the coronavirus.

Other possible new variants of the disease, the impact of the long Covid and the delay in diagnosis and treatment caused by the huge delay in NHS care could still affect the expected lifespan of people, experts said.

The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs said: “Covid-19 has exposed fractures and inequalities within our health and care system, and in many places the pandemic has made them worse. This government is committed to emerging from the pandemic and the new Office for Improving Health and Disparities will lead the mission to tackle health inequalities to ensure that everyone has the chance to live longer and live longer. better health. “


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