Inequalities growing

04 October 2018

The Health Profile for England was released by Public Health England in September.

The new data reveals growing inequalities between people living in the most and least disadvantaged parts of the country.

It also reveals that people can only expect to live about 63 years of good health on average.

Inequality in life expectancy for males and females respectively has widened since 2003. The gap in life expectancy between people living in the most advantaged and disadvantaged parts of England is now 9.3 years for males and 7.3 years for females – meaning those in the wealthiest and healthiest parts of the country can expect to live this much longer, on average, by virtue of their postcode.

The gap in healthy life expectancy, meaning the number of years a person lives in good health, between the most advantaged and disadvantaged areas of England is now around 19 years for both males and females. People living in the most disadvantaged parts of the country now spend nearly a third of their lives in poor health, on average, compared with only a sixth of the lives of those in the most advantaged areas.

These inequalities start early in life. The report reveals wide inequalities in children’s health is based entirely upon where in the country they happen to be raised.

In 2014 to 2016, children in the most disadvantaged parts of England were twice more likely to be born with low birthweight than children in the most advantaged areas, and more than three times as likely to experience tooth decay.

People in the least advantaged areas of England were also more than twice as likely to die prematurely from cancer as those living in the most advantaged areas in 2014 to 2016, which has not improved since 2010 to 2012. They were also nearly four times more likely to die prematurely from cardiovascular disease.

The government defines health inequalities as avoidable and unfair differences in health status between groups of people and communities.


The full Health Profile for England 2018 is available here.


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