Warm This Winter Gabriella Cilmi
19 November 2014, 12:40
A boy born today can expect to live for just under 80 years - nearly four years less than a girl, official figures show.
Life expectancy at birth for males in England and Wales increased from 78.1 years in 2007 to 2009 to 79.3 years in 2011 to 2013, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The female figure increased from 82.2 to 83 years over the same period.
But the gap between the sexes continues to narrow, falling from 4.1 years in 2007/09 to 3.7 years in 2011/13.
The data shows life expectancy varies between areas. Girls born in Chiltern can expect to live longest (86.4 years), more than six years longer than Manchester, where life expectancy was lowest (80).
Boys born in South Cambridgeshire have the highest longevity at 83.0 years - 8.7 years longer than in the area with the lowest, Blackpool (74.3 years).
Life expectancy varied across English regions and tended to be higher among those in the South than in the North and Midlands, the ONS said.
In 2011/13, life expectancy at birth was highest in the South East (80.4 years) for males and in London for females (84.1 years). Conversely, they were lowest in the North West for males (78 years) and in the North East for females (81.7 years).
However, statisticians said the gap between regions is narrowing. Life expectancy at birth and at age 65 increased at a faster pace in London, the North East and the North West compared with other regions between 2007/09 and 2011/13.
For males, the greatest increases were seen in London, the North West and North East while the least were in the South West and South East.
For females, a similar picture was observed with the greatest increases in life expectancy recorded in London, the East Midlands and the North West and the lowest in the South East and South West.
The ONS report said: ``Studies have shown that the selective migration of healthy individuals from poorer health areas into better health areas as well as socio-economic, environmental (including working conditions), educational and lifestyle factors are largely responsible for the excess mortality and consequently lower life expectancy in northern regions compared with those in the south.
``Nevertheless, life expectancy continues to increase at a faster pace in the northern regions and in London than the other southern regions. One possible explanation is the varying rate of decrease in deaths from avoidable causes across English regions.
``Since 2001, the greatest reduction in deaths rates for potentially avoidable causes such as certain cancers, respiratory and heart disease have been seen in the North East, North West and London.''
Simon Bottery, director of policy at the charity Independent Age, said: ``While, we are in the main, living longer lives, these new figures show the health inequality gap is widening.
``There are clear variations between different areas of the country, with higher life expectancy in the South and lower life expectancy in North.
``While there are a range of reasons for such regional variations, this continued increase in health inequalities must be addressed. Sufficient services and resources should be made available to support older people's health and social care needs in local areas most at risk.''