- Analysis shows Westminster’s male life expectancy rises to 84.7 years in 2020
- But Blackpool had 74 years as of 2020, a decade behind the City of London
- Wide geographic disparities reflect economic divide, said King’s Fund
One analysis showed that men in the wealthiest areas of England now live a decade longer than the poorest.
A report by the King’s Fund shows that male life expectancy in Westminster increased from 77.3 years in 2001 to 2003 to 84.7 years in 2020.
But over the same period men in Blackpool saw their life expectancy increase by just two years on average, from 72 to 74.1 years.
Veena Raleigh, who disclosed the figures and is a fellow at the think-tank, said the regional differences were a reflection of the north/south economic divide.
Ms Raleigh said: ‘The divide in life expectancy has widened. Reducing gross health inequalities has never been a difficult mountain to climb.’
Life expectancy has stalled across England in recent years, with the stagnation being blamed on a bad flu season, little improvement in heart treatment, economic deprivation and Covid.
The findings underscore the colossal task of Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who is now committed to ‘flatten’ the whole of the UK with No.
Life expectancy for men increased to 84.7 years by 2020 in Westminster (blue), while in Blackpool (red) it was 74 years as of the same date (shown above)
The report was based on the Office of National Statistics report on regional disparities. It found that between 2015 and 2017 and 2018 to 2020, the Southwest and Southeast were the regions that saw an increase in life expectancy for men.
The ONS report also showed that life expectancy for women in the north of England declined in 2018 to 2020 compared to the previous reporting period.
The life expectancy of men in Westminster was 84.7 years as of 2020, but in disadvantaged Blackpool it was 74 years.
Why is life expectancy higher in the South?
Official figures have repeatedly pointed to the south of England having a higher life expectancy than the north.
The Office for National Statistics report showed that men in the Southeast can expect to live an average of 80.6 years from 2018 to 2020.
For comparison, in the Northwest – where Blackpool, the country’s most disadvantaged region is located – men had a life expectancy of 77.9 years over the same period.
Veena Raleigh, a Fellow of the King’s Fund, says the differences are likely to be a reflection of economic disparities.
England’s life expectancy has stalled in recent years.
Ms Raleigh said this was likely due to a number of factors, including years of bad flu, little improvement in cardiovascular treatments and economic deprivation – with the COVID pandemic.
The King’s Fund analysis painted a similarly bleak picture of life expectancy among women, with an eight-year gap now between the least and most disadvantaged regions of England.
The life expectancy of women in Westminster was 82.3 years as of 2003, rising to 87.1 years by 2020.
But it was 78.4 years in Blackpool by 2003, and 79 years almost two decades later.
Comparisons between the regions with the highest and lowest life expectancy between men twenty years ago and today show a similar picture.
The largest difference between men in 2001 and 2003 was at 8.2 years between Hart in Hampshire and Manchester in the North West.
But the biggest difference between Westminster and Blackpool was 10.7 years from 2018 to 2020.
The data for the King’s Fund analysis comes from an Office for National Statistics report that looks at disparities in life expectancy between regions.
It showed that life expectancy for men rose in the Southeast and Southwest between 2015 and 2020, but fell in every other region.
And in the same period women’s life expectancy only increased in the East, London, South East and South West of England.
Life expectancy growth in England has stalled over the past decade, statistics show.
Between 2001 and 2020, there was an increase of 3.2 years for men and 2.4 years for women.
But only 0.3 years of this reform happened after 2010.
Ms Raleigh said: ‘These inequalities have become institutionalized.
‘They are the symbol and product of widespread socio-economic inequalities with devastating effects on individuals, their families and communities, and the waste of human and social capital.
‘If the Secretary of State’s call that it’s time to level up health is anything to go by, the OHID (Office for Health Reform and Inequalities) needs a multifocal lens to address the many more cross-cutting dimensions of inequality. The challenges are compounded by the decline in life expectancy to 2010 levels and the widening of inequalities due to the COVID pandemic.
Mr Javid recently delivered a keynote address on leveling up health in Blackpool to pledge to tackle the ‘disease of inequality’.
Boris Johnson said in his speech at the Conservative Party convention last week that leveling up is the “biggest project any government can undertake”.
The Prime Minister pledged that his team will ‘move forward with our work of uniting and leveling up across the UK’, and ‘promoting opportunity with every tool we have’ to solve the country’s ‘imbalanced society’. made it his mission.
The Department of Health said: ‘Covid has exposed fractures and inequalities within our health and care systems, and in many places the pandemic has deepened them.
‘This government is committed to rising above the pandemic, and the new Office for Health Reform and Inequalities will advance the mission of tackling health inequalities.’
OHID opened earlier this month with the clear aim of tackling health disparities across the country.
The analysis was based on the Office for National Statistics’ National Life Table report and the Life Expectancy Report for local areas published last month.
The figures were published in a blog post by King’s Fund.