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West London males top EU longevity league

While west-central Scotland has the lowest male longevity in the UK

Mark Gould

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Men living in west London, one of the wealthiest parts of the UK, have the highest life-expectancy among males in Europe, with a baby boy born today expected to live to just over 82.

Data from Eurostat, the European Union (EU) statistics department, reveal that during the three-year period 2015-2017, the life expectancy of a male new-born in the EU was 78.1 years. On average, men tend to live 5.4 years less than women in the EU.

Across EU regions the Comunidad de Madrid and Inner London — west London recorded the highest male life expectancy at 82.3 and 82.2 years respectively during the period 2015-2017.  Men from “north and north-west outer London" were also in the top five EU longevity league living to 82.

In line with a Europe-wide trend, women from the same statistical area of “inner London – west”, which includes Camden, the City, Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Wandsworth, can expect to live more than three years longer than their male neighbours, dying on average at the age of 85.6.

The shortest life expectancy for males in the UK was found in a statistical area of west-central Scotland, where men die on average at the age of 75.5, compared to 80 for women in the same area.

At an EU level the lowest male life expectancy at birth was recorded in central and western Lithuania ( 69.7 years), followed by other regions located in the Baltic Member States, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.

Professor Michael Marmot, a former government adviser and the author of a landmark report on life expectancy in 2010, is quoted by, The Guardian, warning against characterising west London as a place of privilege.

“There is huge inequality,” Marmot said. “At the time of the Grenfell Tower disaster the median income in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea was £32,700-a-year. The mean was £123,000-a-year. And the life expectancy for men in the area around Grenfell Tower was 14 years lower than for men in the richest part of the borough.”

Marmot said the gender life expectancy gap was so common that he believed it could only be explained by a difference in “biological programming”.

“We expect the ratio of men to women to be 100 to 105 and when we don’t see that, there is trouble,” Marmot said, adding that deviations from that norm could usually be explained by high childbirth mortality levels and mistreatment of women or war and systemic ill health among men.

Last year a statistical analysis of life expectancy in England and Wales suggested males might expect to live as long as women by 2032. Both sexes would share an average life expectancy of 87.5 years, according to the modelling.

British adults’ life expectancy was this year cut by six months in the biggest reduction in official longevity forecasts.

Public health experts have blamed the impact of austerity.

Marmot said he would be publishing a major report in February 2020 on the causes of faltering life expectancy. 

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