The life expectancy gap between England’s rich and poor has widened, according to a new report.
According to the Longevity Science Panel (LSP), boys born in one of England’s most prosperous neighbourhoods will live for 8.4 years longer than somebody born in a poor part of the country.
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This gap has been widening since the turn of the millennium, the LSP reported. The same study conducted in 2001 concluded that the life expectancy gap between the rich and poor was 7.2 years.
Why it matters:
The LSP has stated that they will need to investigate further in order to come to a conclusion on the causes of this life expectancy gap.
However, they believe that income inequality between these two groups is a major factor. Likewise, it could also be seen as an effect of the NHS funding crisis.
The authors suggest that not enough is being done to educate poorer people on the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.
What was said:
LSP Chairwoman Dame Karen Dunnell said:
“Dying earlier if you are poor is the most unfair outcome of all, so we should all be concerned about the growing divergence in rich-poor life expectancy.”
A Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson told the BBC:
“Health inequality is a challenging and complex area, but we are committed to tackling this issue.”
“Cancer survival rates are at a record high and smoking rates are at an all-time low, but we know there is still too much variation.”
Class life expectancy gap replaces gender gap
There have been some more positive life expectancy developments this week.
The UK’s life expectancy gender gap is closing at a faster rate than previously thought. That is according to a recent study conducted at Cass Business School, London.
War, industrial jobs and cigarettes forced the average life expectancy of men down over the past 100 years. However, the study estimates that both sexes should have an average life expectancy of 87.5 years within the next 15 years.
Previous research conducted by Imperial College suggested that the gender gap would narrow to a difference of 1.9 years by 2030.
LSP looked at data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for 33,000 residential areas in total. It divided these areas between rich and poor based on income, health, educate and crime.
It found that all class groups are living longer. However, richer groups showed the most improvement.
Likewise, while mortality rates are improving, these improvements have been slowing down since 2011. The researchers attribute this to cuts to NHS funding.