The Independent

Britain slips down global ranks for life expectancy


The UK is slipping down the global ranks when it comes life expectancy, according to analysis. In the 1950s people in the UK had one of the longest life expectanci­es ratings in the world, ranking seventh globally behind countries such as Norway, Sweden and Denmark. But in 2021, the UK was ranked 29th, according to the a study published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

Academics from the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine examined global life expectancy ratings from 1952 to 2021. They found that, over seven decades, the UK has done worse than all G7 countries except the USA.

While life expectancy has increased since the start of the study, similar countries have seen larger increases, the experts said. The authors said that the fall down the ranks has been decades in the making – this includes a rise in income inequaliti­es in the UK during and after the 1980s.

Prof Martin McKee, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “That rise also saw an increase in the variation in life expectancy between different social groups. One reason why the overall increase in life expectancy has been so sluggish in the UK is that in recent years it has fallen for poorer groups.”

Dr Lucinda Hiam, of the University of Oxford, said: “The rankings show that the only G7 country to do worse than the UK is the USA.” On the current cost of living crisis, Dr Hiam added: “In the short term, the government has an acute crisis to address. However, a relative worsening of population health is evidence that all is not well.

“It has historical­ly been an early sign of severe political and economic problems. This new analysis suggests that the problems the UK faces are deep-seated and raises serious questions about the path that this country is following.”


Want your views to be included in The Independen­t Daily Edition letters page? Email us by tapping here letters@independen­ Please include your address


 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom