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Wide variation in life expectancy between areas in Scotland

Published: 13 Oct 2015 09:30

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Life expectancy for men and women continues to improve, according to a report published today by the Registrar General for Scotland.

Based on statistics covering 2012-2014, the report breaks down further the estimates published at Scotland level on 20 August 2015 which showed that life expectancy is now 77.1 years for men and 81.1 years for women in Scotland.

Commenting on the report published today Registrar General for Scotland Tim Ellis said:

"This report shows that life expectancy continues to vary widely across Scotland.

"Life expectancy for men is highest in East Dunbartonshire and lowest in Glasgow City, while for women it is highest in East Dunbartonshire and lowest in West Dunbartonshire. People living in rural areas, in general, live longer than those in more urban areas."

An interactive data visualisation has also been published today which allows comparisons of life expectancy at birth between council areas in Scotland. It is available on the National Records of Scotland website at: http://www.scotlandscensus.gov.uk/NRSinteractivedata/Lifeexp/lifeexp2012-2014.html

The key points in this report for 2012-2014 are:

At birth

  • Life expectancy in Scotland was 77.1 years for males and 81.1 years for females but with considerable variation between areas.
  • Male and female life expectancy was highest in East Dunbartonshire Council. Male life expectancy was lowest in Glasgow City while female life expectancy was lowest in West Dunbartonshire. Males in East Dunbartonshire can expect to live for 80.7 years, 7.3 years longer than in Glasgow City (73.4 years). Females in East Dunbartonshire can expect to live for 83.9 years, 5.2 years longer than in West Dunbartonshire (78.7 years).
  • The NHS Board area with the highest male life expectancy was Borders (79.3 years), with female life expectancy being highest in Orkney (82.8 years); the NHS Board area with the lowest male life expectancy was Greater Glasgow & Clyde (75.3 years), with female life expectancy also lowest in Greater Glasgow & Clyde at 80.0 years.
  • Life expectancy at birth was highest for males in Remote Rural areas (79.5 years), where they can expect to live nearly 3.5 years longer than males in large urban areas, who have a life expectancy at birth of 76.0 years. Female life expectancy at birth was also highest in Remote Rural areas (82.7 years), 2.1 years more than in large urban areas, where it was lowest (80.6 years).

Compared with UK and Europe

  • Scottish males and females have the lowest life expectancy at birth in the United Kingdom (UK). Male life expectancy is 2.0 years lower than the UK average and female life expectancy is 1.7 years lower.
  • In Scotland, males and females can expect to live shorter lives (by 2.3 years and 2.0 years respectively) than in England, where male and female life expectancy is the highest in the UK.
  • Amongst European Union (EU) countries, Sweden's male life expectancy was among the highest (79.4 years), 2.3 years higher than in Scotland. Female life expectancy was highest in Spain (85.3 years), 4.2 years higher than in Scotland.
  • Although male and female life expectancy continues to improve in Scotland, the gap between Scottish and English life expectancy for both males and females has widened since 1980-1982 by 0.3 years for both males and females.

Changes over time

  • Male and female life expectancy has continued to rise across Scotland.
  • The biggest improvements in male life expectancy since 2002-2004 have been in Inverclyde Council (5.2 years) and Western Isles NHS Board area (4.6 years).
  • The biggest improvements in female life expectancy since 2002-2004 have been in East Dunbartonshire Council, increasing by 3.5 years and Highland NHS Board area, increasing by 2.7 years.
  • The gap between male and female life expectancy at birth in Scotland has decreased from 6.2 years in 1980-1982 to 4.0 years in 2012-2014. Male life expectancy has been increasing at a faster rate than for females since 2001-2003

At age 65

  • Males in Scotland could expect to live for a further 17.4 years at age 65 and females a further 19.7 years.
  • East Dunbartonshire Council had the highest male life expectancy at age 65 (19.2 years), 4.0 years higher than in Glasgow City, where it was lowest at 15.2 years. Female life expectancy at age 65 was also highest in East Dunbartonshire (21.5 years) and lowest in Glasgow City (18.1 years), a difference of 3.4 years.
  • The NHS Board area with the highest male and female life expectancy at age 65 was Shetland (19.0 years and 21.2 years respectively). It was lowest for males in Greater Glasgow & Clyde (16.4 years) and for females in Lanarkshire (18.8 years).

The full publication, Life Expectancy for Areas in Scotland 2012-2014, is available on the NRS website.

Notes to editors

The publication is available on the NRS website:

http://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/statistics-and-data/statistics/statistics-by-theme/life-expectancy/life-expectancy-in-scottish-areas/2012-2014

Publications about life expectancy produced by NRS are available at:
http://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/statistics-and-data/statistics/statistics-by-theme/life-expectancy

An interactive data visualisation was also published today, which allows comparisons of life expectancy at birth between council areas in Scotland. It is available on the National Records of Scotland website at: http://www.scotlandscensus.gov.uk/NRSinteractivedata/Lifeexp/lifeexp2012-2014.html.

A report (GSSM series no. 33) on research undertaken by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to compare methodologies for calculating life expectancy figures and confidence intervals can be found on the National Statistics website:
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/method-quality/specific/gss-methodology-series/index.html

All the figures in the report are period life expectancies and are a three year average for 2012-2014. They are produced by aggregating deaths and population data for the three year period, which provides large enough numbers to ensure that the figures published in the report are robust. Period life expectancy at birth for a given area and time period is an estimate of the average number of years a new born baby would survive if he/she experienced the particular area's age specific mortality rate for that time period throughout his/her life. The figure reflects mortality among those living in the area in each period, rather than mortality among those born in each area. It is not the number of years a baby born in the area in the period is expected to live, both because death rates are likely to change in the future and because many of the newborns may live elsewhere for at least some part of their lives. The term 'expected to live' is used in this publication for ease of reading.

Period life expectancies for the United Kingdom and its constituent countries (including the whole of Scotland) are calculated annually by ONS using complete life tables. These are available from 1980-1982 on the ONS website:
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/taxonomy/index.html?nscl=Life+Expectancies

Because of the differences between complete (single year of age) and abridged (grouped years) life tables, the Scotland level figures presented in some parts of this publication may differ slightly from those published by ONS.