Scotland lags behind other UK nations in life expectancy

Scotland lags behind the other home nations for life expectancy. Picture: TSPL
Scotland lags behind the other home nations for life expectancy. Picture: TSPL
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Life expectancy across the UK has risen in recent decades, but Scotland lags behind the other home nations.

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In England, life expectancy at birth for boys increased from 73.7 years in 1991 to 1993 to 79.5 years in 2012 to 2014, according to the most recent Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures.

This means that a newborn baby boy in England in 2012 to 2014 can expect to live 5.9 years longer than a newborn baby boy in the same country over two decades ago. Similarly, life expectancy for baby girls increased by 4.1 years, from 79.1 years in 1991 to 1993 to 83.2 years in 2012 to 2014.

In Wales, life expectancy at birth increased by 5.3 years for boys, from 73.3 years in 1991 to 1993 to 78.5 years in 2012 to 2014. For girls, it increased by 3.5 years, from 78.8 years in 1991 to 1993 to 82.3 years in 2012 to 2014.

National Records of Scotland figures covering 2011-13 suggested that both men and women were living longer. Life expectancy was 76.8 years for men and 80.9 years for women.

Scotland as a whole had the poorest life expectancy of any of the UK nations, at 77.1 years for men and 81.1 for women. It has 1,177 deaths per 100,000, compared with England’s rate of 989.6, according to the ONS.

Glasgow has the lowest life expectancy of any area in the UK. Mortality rates for men in the city stood at 1,787, while West Dunbartonshire had the poorest life expectancy for women, with a figure of 1,246 deaths per 100,000.

However, Scottish men appear to be living healthier lifestyles, as the gap between the sexes has narrowed - from more than six years at the start of the 1980s to four years by 2015.

Despite Scotland’s comparatively low life expectancy, a European survey published last October suggested it had the highest quality of life of the four UK nations, considering factors such as health, safety, access to education and personal rights.