WHEN POVERTY KILLS
THE RICHEST PEOPLE CAN CURRENTLY EXPECT TO LIVE EIGHT YEARS LONGER THAN THE POOREST
THE MOST deprived girls and boys born in England and Wales today will die an average of eight years before the richest.
The figures, released by the Office for National Statistics, give a stark illustration of how poverty can literally cut a life short.
Deprivation is measured by looking at factors like income and employment, but also education, crime levels, housing and the local environment. Boys born in the most deprived 10 per cent of places in England and Wales have a life expectancy of around 74. For boys born in the most affluent 10 per cent of places, that figure rises to around 83. The gap for girls is slightly narrower and girls live significantly longer than boys at every point on the deprivation scale. Girls born in the most deprived 10 per cent of places live to around 78-79, while those in the richest 10 per cent of places live to around 86.
The data shows that poverty doesn’t just affect how long you can expect to live, but also how long you can expect to live disability-free and in good health.
For example, the most deprived boys will live just 70 per cent of their lives free of disability - a figure that rises to 82 per cent for those living in the most affluent areas.
David Leese, policy analysis manager at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said the life expectancy gap caused by poverty was “simply unacceptable” in modern Britain.
He said: “In our society, we believe in justice and compassion, helping and protecting each other from harm.
“Everyone should have the same opportunity to enjoy a healthy and secure life - regardless of their income or where they’re from. These figures should act as wake up call: we need action to loosen poverty’s grip on the health of our nation.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Health and Social Care said: “Health inequality is a challenging and complex area and is driven by a variety of factors but we are working hard to tackle the root causes. “Since 2010 income inequality has fallen, more children have working parents and fewer children are living in poverty. “We are also investing more than £16 billion in local government public health services, providing free NHS vaccination and screening programmes and have set up a £2.5 billion fund to help disadvantaged pupils.”
The living environment, employment and an area’s income all impact on deprivation levels
Deprivation is also measured by looking at sectors such as education