Men could have same life expectancy as women by 2030s, research finds

However, improvements for those who live in deprived areas will move much slower

Sarah Young
Tuesday 27 March 2018 15:26
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Men could have the same life expectancy as women for the very first time by 2030s, new research suggests.

In nearly all populations across the world, women experience longer life spans than men.

But according to a new report published this week, men are starting to play catch up and could live as long as women by the 2030s, with both sexes sharing an average life expectancy of 87.5 years.

The research, conducted by Cass Business School for the International Longevity Centre UK, calculated how long 100,000 people aged 30 would live if they experienced the average mortality rates for each year.

Projecting forward, the data showed that by the 2030s the male and female life expectancy lines intersected.

There are a number of reasons the gap is beginning to narrow including a general fall in tobacco and alcohol consumption, and the study authors consider the gradual reduction in inequalities across lifespan between the sexes as a positive finding.

“This will lead to fewer years of female isolation in later life and longer working lives for women which will have a positive impact on their retirement savings and general health and wellbeing,” said Les Mayhew, study lead and professor of statistics at Cass Business School.

However, while life expectancy is anticipated to improve in general, the research also revealed that these results vary greatly depending on where you live.

It discovered that life expectancy and health outcomes worsen the more deprived an area or population is with men more adversely impacted than women.

Similarly, the southeast of England was found to be less deprived than the rest of the country, with the five most deprived districts all in the north of England.

For men, the gap in life expectancy at age 30 between the top and bottom one per cent of deprived neighbourhoods stands at 10.9 years but just 8.4 years for women.

Likewise, men are 4.4 times more likely to die at the age of 44 in the most deprived 10 per cent of neighbourhoods, when compared to the 10 per cent of least deprived neighbourhoods.

The researchers also confirmed that deprivation in England is heavily skewed towards urban areas, with the top five districts found to be in Northern England – Middlesbrough, Knowsley on Merseyside, Kingston-upon-Hull, Liverpool and Manchester.

In contrast, Tower Hamlets, Haringey and Hackney are the only areas in London to fall into the top 50 deprived districts.

According to Mayhew, these differences in life expectancy can be explained by unhealthy lifestyles and lack of social mobility.

“The causes of ill health are increasingly lifestyle related and rooted in the cultures of different socio-economic groups – think smoking, excessive drinking, obesity, drug abuse and mental illness,” he explained.

“Efforts are being made to improve health outcomes in deprived areas but more resources need to be provided for preventative measures, training and education.”

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