UK falls 22 places in global life expectancy rankings since 1950s
The UK has slipped more than 20 places down the global ranks when it comes to life expectancy.
Researchers found Brits had one of the longest life expectancy ratings in the world 70 years ago – 68.93 years – ranking seventh behind nations such as Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
But in 2021, the UK was ranked 29th – 81.52 years – according to analysis from the University of Oxford and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
The academics found that, over seven decades, the UK has done worse than all G7 countries except the US.
While life expectancy has increased since the start of the study, similar countries have seen much larger increases.
The experts said the UK’s decline has been decades in the making, and can be attributed to the rise of income inequalities during and after Margaret Thatcher’s Tory goverment in the 1980s.
Professor Martin McKee 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 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’.
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