Average Life Expectancy UK – Updated Life Span Stats 2024

Elaine Brookes Steve Case

Author: Steve Case - Insurance Expert

Reviewed & Fact Checked By: Elaine Brookes

Updated: 19th March 2024

life expectancy uk

The United Kingdom’s life expectancy statistics have improved since 1950.

However, a recent life expectancy UK study revealed that Britons have the second-worst life expectancy among G7 economies.

Despite the general improvement, the UK ranks poorly compared to its peers. In 1950, the average life expectancy at birth was around 69 years. According to the latest estimates, this is expected to increase to around 82 years by late 2024.

The figures demonstrate that the UK has significantly improved healthcare and access to medical technologies in the past few decades.

However, the country must prioritise public health initiatives and invest in its healthcare infrastructure to ensure its citizens can continue to benefit from an increased life expectancy.

Life expectancy is an essential yardstick for measuring a population’s well-being

It gives us a snapshot of how long people can expect to live on average, reflecting the overall quality of life in a particular region.

This article will delve deep into life expectancy in the United Kingdom, examining historical trends, regional variations, gender differences, socioeconomic factors, and much more.

Historical Trends in UK Life Expectancy

To truly understand the average UK lifespan, we must look at the past to appreciate how far we’ve come. During the Industrial Revolution, life expectancy in the UK was dismally low, with the average person living for only around 35-40 years.

Poor living conditions, inadequate healthcare, and rampant disease were some key factors contributing to this sorry state of affairs.

Fast-forward to the 20th century and life expectancy improved significantly, largely due to advancements in medicine, sanitation, and public health.

Over the past few decades, however, progress has somewhat slowed, and there are concerns that life expectancy in the UK may be plateauing or declining slightly.

Lifestyle-related Factors and their Impact on Life Expectancy in the UK

Lifestyle-Related FactorImpact on Life Expectancy
SmokingIn 2024, smoking prevalence in the most deprived areas was almost twice as high as in the least deprived areas, reducing life expectancy.
Poor Diet and ObesityA higher prevalence of poor diet and obesity in deprived areas contributes to ill health and reduced life expectancy.
Excessive Alcohol Consumption and Drug AbuseThese factors are more common in deprived areas, leading to increased health risks and reduced life expectancy.
Poor Quality HousingPoor quality housing can contribute to ill health and is more common in deprived areas, negatively impacting life expectancy.
Less Access to Green SpaceLimited access to green spaces can lead to poorer mental and physical health, reducing life expectancy.

Leading Causes of Death and Their Risk Factors

Leading Cause of DeathLifestyle-Related Risk Factors
Heart DiseaseSmoking, obesity, poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption
CancerSmoking, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, poor diet
StrokeSmoking, obesity, poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption
Respiratory DiseasesSmoking, poor quality housing, limited access to green space
Liver DiseaseExcessive alcohol consumption, obesity, drug abuse

Regional Variations In Life Expectancy And By UK Postcode:

The UK is diverse and varied, and life expectancy is no exception. There are notable differences in how long people can expect to live depending on where in the country they reside. Factors such as income, education, and access to healthcare services all create these regional disparities.

For example, some areas in southern England, particularly around London and the southeast, tend to have higher life expectancies than other parts of the country. On the other hand, certain regions in the north of England and Wales often have lower life expectancies.

Sadly, if you’re from a place with less money and more problems, like parts of Scotland or North West England, you might spend much more time being sick than someone from a wealthier area.

Everyone’s trying to change this difference because no one should have worse health just because of their postcode.

Regions with the Lowest and Highest Life Expectancy

Life expectancy in the UK significantly fluctuates based on the region and postcode, painting a stark contrast between different areas. Here’s an overview:

RegionLowest Life ExpectancyHighest Life Expectancy
ScotlandGlasgow: Males 73.3 years, Females 78.7 yearsEast Renfrewshire: Males 80.5 years, Females 83.7 years
North West EnglandBlackpool: Males 74.7 years, Females 79.5 yearsCheshire East: Males 80.4 years, Females 83.8 years
South East EnglandHastings: Males 75.8 years, Females 81.1 yearsEast Dorset: Males 83.0 years, Females 86.4 years
LondonIslington: Males 77.4 years, Females 82.2 yearsKensington and Chelsea: Males 83.3 years, Females 86.9 years

The disparities in these figures underscore the influence of socioeconomic factorshealthcare access, and lifestyle choices on longevity.

It’s a concerning reality that your postcode can shape your life expectancy, highlighting the need for targeted public health interventions to bridge this gap.

Improving Life Expectancy Across Different UK Postcodes

Implementing community-level interventions and promoting individual lifestyle changes can significantly improve life expectancy in various UK postcodes.

Here, we discuss how these initiatives can make a difference in your area:

Public Health Initiatives:

Improving public health in the UK requires focused efforts and initiatives to address the disparities in life expectancy.

  1. Supporting disadvantaged families, especially during the first 1000 days of their children’s lives, can positively impact physical and mental health.
  2. Full implementation of the government’s Childhood Obesity plans is essential to reduce unhealthy environmental influences and promote healthier lifestyle choices.
  3. Increasing funding for local public health services is crucial as these services serve as the frontline in improving the nation’s overall health.
  4. Enabling fairer income distribution by ensuring all full-time adult workers receive at least a living wage can improve overall health outcomes.
  5. Exploration of creative approaches to reduce tax avoidance by wealthy companies and individuals could provide additional resources for improving public health initiatives.
  6. Prioritising providing more good quality, energy-efficient, and affordable rental housing through government housing policies can positively impact public health.
  7. Emphasising Health at Work post-COVID-19 can significantly influence the general well-being of individuals, highlighting the importance of work quality as a factor affecting health.
  8. Government investment in lifelong learning can provide opportunities for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve their potential and experience improved health outcomes later in life.
  9. Embedding prevention more strongly in medical school curricula and continuing professional development for healthcare professionals can help shift focus towards early intervention strategies.
  10. Learning from successful community-based health initiatives from other countries, especially in addressing childhood obesity, can offer valuable insights into addressing public health challenges effectively.

Community-Level Interventions

Improving the health of a community is a collective effort that can lead to longer and healthier lives for everyone.

  1. Establishing support programs for families in disadvantaged areas during the early years of children’s lives can have long-term benefits on physical and mental health outcomes.
  2. Implementing local initiatives that encourage healthy food choices, physical activity, and access to affordable healthcare services can improve overall health within the community.
  3. Creating opportunities for lifelong learning and adult education can empower individuals to make informed decisions about their health and well-being, leading to improved life expectancy.
  4. Developing community-based health initiatives focused on prevention, particularly in addressing childhood obesity and supporting disadvantaged areas, can help narrow the gap in life expectancy across different postcodes.
  5. Encouraging social participation through local programs and events can combat loneliness and isolation, which are linked to negative impacts on physical and mental health.
  6. Supporting public health services at the local level with increased funding can enhance accessibility to healthcare resources, contributing to better overall health outcomes within communities.
  7. Promoting awareness of healthy lifestyle choices through community-wide campaigns and educational programs can inspire positive behaviour changes that benefit everyone’s well-being.
  8. Collaborating with local businesses and organisations to create environments that support healthy living by promoting nutritious food options, active lifestyles, and mental well-being resources.
  9. Engaging volunteers within the community to participate in health-related activities such as wellness workshops or neighbourhood clean-up events can foster a sense of belonging while promoting healthier living habits.
  10. Advocating for policy changes at the local level that address socio-economic disparities, access to healthcare, and environmental factors influencing health outcomes are essential steps towards achieving equitable life expectancies across different UK postcodes.

Gender Differences in Life Expectancy

It’s no secret that average women live longer than men. In the UK, this gender gap in life expectancy is quite noticeable, with women living around 3-4 years longer than their male counterparts. Several factors, including biological differences, lifestyle choices, and occupational risks, contribute to this difference.

Interestingly, the gender gap in life expectancy has been shrinking over the past few decades. This can be attributed to improvements in men’s health and the narrowing of the gap in lifestyle factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption.

Chart and table of U.K. life expectancy for the period 1950 to 2024

  • The current life expectancy for the U.K. in 2024 is 81.77 years of age, a 0.15% increase from 2022
  • The life expectancy for the U.K. in 2022 was 81.65 years of age, a 0.15% increase from 2021
  • The life expectancy for the U.K. in 2021 was 81.52 years of age, a 0.15% increase from 2020
  • The life expectancy for the U.K. in 2020 was 81.40 years of age, a 0.15% increase from 2019
Source of data:

Socioeconomic Factors Affecting Life Expectancy

It’s well-established that socioeconomic factors play a significant role in determining how long a person can expect to live.

Let’s break down some of the key factors affecting the average UK lifespan:

  • Income: Wealthier individuals generally enjoy better health and longer lives, thanks to better access to healthcare, more nutritious diets, and the ability to afford healthier lifestyles.
  • Education: Education is a crucial determinant of life expectancy. Those with higher levels of education tend to live longer, as they often have better access to information about health and well-being and the resources needed to make healthier choices.
  • Occupation: Certain occupations carry higher risks to health and well-being, resulting in shorter life expectancies for those working in hazardous environments or under stressful conditions.

Impact of COVID-19 on Life Expectancy in Disadvantaged Areas

FactorImpact on Life Expectancy during COVID-19
Underlying Health ConditionsHigher mortality rates from underlying health conditions in disadvantaged areas increased the severity of COVID-19 and mortality rates.
Overcrowded HousingA higher prevalence of overcrowded housing in low-income areas led to higher rates of COVID-19 mortality.
Jobs that Cannot be Done from HomeA higher number of jobs that cannot be done from home in low-income areas contributed to increased COVID-19 mortality rates.

COVID-19 Mortality Rates in Deprived vs Wealthy Areas (August 2022)

Area TypeCOVID-19 Mortality Rate
Most-Deprived AreasTwice as high as the rate in the wealthiest areas
Wealthiest AreasLower rate compared to the most deprived areas

Health Factors Influencing Life Expectancy

Numerous health factors can impact a person’s life expectancy, ranging from nutrition and exercise to mental health.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these factors:

Chronic Diseases and Life Expectancy

  • Heart disease: Cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, are among the leading causes of death in the UK. By reducing risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity, it’s possible to lower the risk of heart disease and improve life expectancy.
  • Cancer: As another leading cause of death in the UK, cancer significantly impacts life expectancy. Early detection and improved treatments have led to better survival rates, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle and reducing exposure to known carcinogens can further help in increasing life expectancy.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes, particularly type 2, is a growing health concern in the UK. It can lead to various complications, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure, ultimately affecting life expectancy. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly can help prevent and manage diabetes.

Shifts In UK Life Expectancy And Their Significance: Video

Lifestyle Choices and Life Expectancy

  • Smoking: Smoking is a significant risk factor for numerous health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Kicking the habit can add years to a person’s life and improve their overall quality of life.
  • Alcohol consumption: Moderate alcohol consumption may have some health benefits, but excessive drinking is linked to numerous health issues, such as liver disease, heart problems, and certain cancers. Drinking responsibly and within recommended guidelines can help safeguard life expectancy.
  • Obesity: Obesity is a significant risk factor for various chronic health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular physical activity is crucial for a longer and healthier life.

Advances in Medicine and Healthcare

The UK has seen tremendous advancements in medicine and healthcare over the years, contributing to the overall improvement in life expectancy.

Some noteworthy advancements include:

  • Vaccinations and antibiotics: These medical innovations have helped control and prevent infectious diseases, saving countless lives and improving life expectancy.
  • Improvements in healthcare access and quality: The establishment and continued development of the National Health Service (NHS) have made healthcare accessible to a larger segment of the UK population. This accessibility and advancements in medical technology and treatments have led to better healthcare outcomes and longer lives.
  • Role of preventive medicine: The increasing focus on preventative medicine, including regular check-ups, screenings, and health promotion initiatives, has played a vital role in detecting and treating health issues before they become more serious, further contributing to improved life expectancy.
life expectancy by area

International Comparisons

When comparing the UK’s life expectancy to other countries, it ranks relatively high but is not at the top of the list. Countries such as Japan, Switzerland, and Spain tend to have higher life expectancies, while the UK’s figures are closer to those of the United States and several European nations.

Factors contributing to these international differences in life expectancy include healthcare systems, lifestyle choices, and cultural norms.

By learning from the experiences and best practices of countries with higher life expectancies, the UK can continue to improve its population’s health and well-being.

Future Projections for UK Life Expectancy

While it’s challenging to predict the future with certainty, current trends and research suggest that life expectancy in the UK will likely continue to increase over the coming decades.

However, the pace of this increase may slow down due to various factors, such as the growing prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Addressing these challenges and adopting evidence-based strategies and policies that promote health and well-being for all is crucial to ensuring continued improvements in life expectancy.

ways to increase life expectancy chart

Strategies For Improving Life Expectancy

Improving life expectancy in the UK requires a multifaceted approach that addresses the diverse factors influencing health and well-being.

Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Government policies and initiatives: Government plays a crucial role in shaping the conditions for a healthier population. By investing in healthcare, education, and social programs and promoting policies that encourage healthier lifestyles, the government can help improve life expectancy.
  • The role of the healthcare system: The healthcare system, including the NHS, significantly impacts life expectancy. By focusing on preventive medicine, early detection, and efficient treatment of health conditions, the healthcare system can improve life expectancy in the UK.
  • Individual actions for a longer, healthier life: Ultimately, individuals play a critical role in determining their health and well-being. By adopting healthier lifestyle choices, such as eating well, exercising regularly, and avoiding harmful habits like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, people can increase their chances of living longer, healthier lives.

How can I find out my life expectancy if I live in the UK?

To determine your life expectancy in the UK, you can consider the following steps:

  • Start by evaluating your current health status. Consider any preexisting medical conditions, family history of illnesses, lifestyle habits, and overall physical and mental well-being. This self-assessment can give you an idea of potential life expectancy risk factors.
  • For a more accurate assessment, consult with healthcare professionals such as doctors, specialists, or genetic counsellors. They can evaluate your medical history, conduct relevant tests, and provide insights into potential health risks. They can offer personalised advice and help you understand how specific factors may impact your life expectancy.
  • Several online tools and calculators can estimate life expectancy based on age, gender, lifestyle choices, and health conditions. These tools provide a rough estimation, but it’s important to remember that they cannot predict individual circumstances with absolute certainty.
  • The UK government publishes comprehensive health-related statistics that can provide general insights into life expectancy. Reviewing this information can help you understand the average life expectancy in the UK and identify trends over time.
Consequences of increased lifespan

Implications of Extended Life Expectancies

If the ONS data is considered accurate, young professionals should take action. Purchasing term life insurance while they are still in good health and of a young age will keep premium costs low throughout the term.

Those who choose whole life cover can also find low premiums, though they will pay these over most of their lives.

Life insurance provides for surviving loved ones, so the insured does not need to worry about their financial well-being.

An extended life expectancy also has implications for retirement income. Young professionals should ensure that they will have sufficient pension savings to last throughout their extended retirement periods. Living comfortably may require financial sacrifices when income is no longer generated.

Personal and workplace pensions supplement the UK state pension amount. Residents can use the state pension calculator on the UK government website to determine how much money they will receive from the basic state pension.

Artificially Extending Life Expectancy

Scientists have discovered a gene that may extend life by up to 20 years. They hope their work will lead to a pill that helps older people improve their health and fitness and live longer.

The gene they discovered, SIRT6, is found in all mammals and protects against age-related cell damage.

By manipulating this gene in laboratory mice, they could extend the rodents’ lifespan by up to 15 percent.

Human and mouse SIRT genes are 80 percent identical, say experts. The gene cannot be injected, so scientists are trying to develop a pill that will activate it before the ageing process begins.

Though human trials will not take place for years, male and female life expectancies of 100 years may not be unheard of in the future.

GlaxoSmithKline has already invested £250 million to have a small firm work on a sister gene that may extend human lifetimes. Extended life expectancies will affect many aspects of society, including the life insurance industry.

Life Expectancy UK Conclusion

In conclusion, life expectancy in the UK has come a long way since the Industrial Revolution. While there’s much to celebrate, there’s still plenty of work to be done to address disparities and ensure continued improvements in the health and well-being of the nation.

By learning from the past, focusing on the present, and planning for the future, the UK can continue to make strides in extending and improving the lives of its citizens.

On A Lighter Note

Knowing the latest UK life expectancy stats is important for many reasons. However, we should also consider the impact of mental health and stress on a person’s lifespan.

Our new “when life gives you lemons guide” offers some positive and actionable tips on how to face adversity and deal with stress more effectively. We hope you find it useful.

Average UK Life Span Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the current life expectancy in the UK?

As of 2024, the life expectancy in the UK is approximately 81 years, with women living around 83 years and men living about 79 years. However, these figures may vary depending on location, socioeconomic status, and lifestyle choices.

Why is life expectancy an important measure of well-being?

Life expectancy is a crucial indicator of a population’s health and well-being. It reflects the average number of years a person can expect to live, considering factors such as healthcare access, living conditions, and lifestyle choices.

What factors contribute to regional differences in life expectancy?

Regional differences in life expectancy can be attributed to various factors, including income, education, access to healthcare services, and local environmental conditions. Addressing these disparities is crucial for ensuring the well-being of all citizens, regardless of where they live.

How has life expectancy in the UK changed over time?

Over the past two centuries, life expectancy in the UK has increased dramatically, thanks to improvements in healthcare, sanitation, and public health measures. However, progress has slowed in recent years, and there are concerns that life expectancy may be plateauing or even declining slightly.

What lifestyle choices can help improve life expectancy?

Lifestyle choices that can positively impact life expectancy include maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, avoiding smoking, and drinking alcohol in moderation.

How does the UK’s life expectancy compare to other countries?

The UK’s life expectancy ranks relatively high compared to other countries but is not at the top of the list.

Countries such as Japan, Switzerland, and Spain tend to have higher life expectancies, while the UK’s figures are closer to those of the United States and several European nations.

What can be done to address disparities in life expectancy?

Addressing disparities in life expectancy requires a multifaceted approach that involves government policies, healthcare system improvements, and individual actions.

Investing in healthcare, education, and social programs, promoting healthier lifestyles, and ensuring access to quality healthcare services makes it possible to narrow the life expectancy gap across different population segments.

What is the life expectancy of a 75 year old in the UK?

According to provisional estimates, in England in 2022, the average life expectancy for a 75-year-old male was 78.7 years, and for a 75-year-old female, it was 82.7 years.

This means that, on average, a 75-year-old man can expect to live an additional 3.7 years, while a 75-year-old woman can expect to live for an additional 7.7 years.

How many live to 100 years old in the UK?

According to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates, approximately 15,120 centenarians (people aged 100 years and over) lived in the UK in 2020.

This represents an increase of almost a fifth (18%) from surveys conducted between 2002 and 2005, which identified only 11,200 people as centenarians.

These figures demonstrate a trend of increasing longevity in the UK, with more people than ever before living to the age of 100 or older.

Despite this, centenarians comprise a relatively small percentage (0.02%) of the UK population. The ONS revises these population estimates every two years, so it will be interesting to see how these figures evolve in the coming years.

How rare is my birthday in the UK?

In the UK, the rarity of a birthday can vary significantly, with specific dates being more common due to seasonal trends in birth rates.

For instance, September 26 has been identified as one of the most common birth dates in the UK, aligning with the trend of higher birth rates in late September, approximately nine months after the Christmas holiday period.

Who is the oldest person in the UK?

As of 24 February 2024, the oldest person in the UK is Ethel Caterham, born on 21 August 1909, aged 114 years and 187 days.

Research resources: