Landmarks of inequality: Map highlights widening gap in life expectancy between rich and poor

THE stark inequalities of life expectancy across the UK have been highlighted using a map of famous places and landmarks around the country.

Put together by researchers, Dr Kinglsey Purdam and Harry Taylor from the University of Manchester, the map highlights how life expectancy can vary by more than 25 years between areas.

Around Celtic Park in Glasgow, for example, life expectancy is 63 for men and 70 for women; around Blackpool Tower is 70 years for men and 79 for women. But in London’s Knightsbridge, it is 89 for men and 92 for women.

“The famous places and landmarks life expectancy map is designed to raise public and policy maker awareness of the inequalities in life expectancy in the UK,” said Purdam.

“A number of interrelated factors are associated with lower life expectancy including access to health care, income level, employment status, smoking and alcohol consumption, diet, exercise, the local environment, social status and social isolation.”

Despite long-term increases in life expectancy in the UK since Victorian times, it is still lower than in many other countries with comparable levels of economic development, the researchers say.

Several studies have indicated that the life expectancy gap between economically deprived and prosperous areas is increasing, and evidence suggests that life expectancy has either stalled or began to decline in many areas of the country.

Furthermore, a decade of cuts to vital public services provided by local authorities and the NHS have been claimed to be impacting on health outcomes — for example, research by Age UK has highlighted how an estimated 1.8 million older people currently have unmet social care needs.

Purdham added: “The deprivation level of an area is strongly linked with premature mortality, which shows that it is vital for the Government to recognise and address the inequalities in health outcomes.”

The research is set to be published in the journal Environment and Planning A.

NH

Life Expectancy Map
Landmarks of inequality. Courtesy of the University of Manchester

 

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