National Records of Scotland

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Wide variation in life expectancy between areas in Scotland

Wide variation in life expectancy between areas in Scotland

Thursday, 16 Oct 2014
Demography News Release - Image

Life expectancy for men and women in Scotland continues to improve but there are differences between areas within Scotland, according to a report published today by the Registrar General for Scotland.

Based on statistics covering 2011-2013, the report breaks down further the estimates published at Scotland level on 14 August 2014 which showed that life expectancy is now 76.8 years for men and 80.9 years for women in Scotland, increases of 0.3 years and 0.1 years respectively since 2010-2012. 

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 is highest in East Dunbartonshire and lowest in Glasgow City Council, for both men and women. People living in rural areas, in general, live longer than those in more urban areas. 

“Men in the least deprived areas of Scotland may live 12.5 years longer than those in the most deprived areas while women in the least deprived areas could expect to live 8.5 years longer than those in the most deprived.” 

A new interactive data visualisation has also been published which allows comparisons of life expectancy at birth between council areas in Scotland. It is available on the Scotland's Census website.

Life Expectancy at Birth, Scotland and its Council areas 2011-2013

Life Expectancy at Birth Image

The key points in this report for 2011-2013 are:

At birth

  • Life expectancy in Scotland was 76.8 years for males and 80.9 years for females but with considerable variation between areas.
  • Male and female life expectancy was highest in East Dunbartonshire Council area and lowest in Glasgow City Council area. Males in East Dunbartonshire can expect to live for 80.5 years, 7.5 years longer than in Glasgow City (73.0 years). Females in East Dunbartonshire can expect to live for 83.9 years, 5.4 years longer than in Glasgow City (78.5 years).
  • The NHS Board area with the highest male life expectancy was Borders (79.3 years), with female life expectancy being highest in Orkney (82.5 years); the NHS Board area with the lowest male life expectancy was Greater Glasgow & Clyde (74.9 years), with female life expectancy also lowest in Greater Glasgow & Clyde at 80.0 years.
  • The Community Health Partnership area where male and female life expectancy was highest was East Dunbartonshire at 80.5 years and 83.9 years respectively. Glasgow City had the lowest life expectancy for males (73.0 years) and females (78.5 years).
  • Life expectancy at birth was highest for males in Remote Rural areas (79.2 years), where they can expect to live nearly 3.6 years longer than males in large urban areas, who have a life expectancy at birth of 75.6 years. Female life expectancy at birth was also highest in Remote Rural areas (82.6 years), 2.3 years more than in large urban areas, where it was lowest (80.3 years).
  • Life expectancy increases as deprivation decreases, with life expectancy at birth for males in the 10 per cent least deprived areas of Scotland (82.4 years) being expected to live for 12.5 years more than males in the 10 per cent most deprived areas (69.9 years).
  • Females in the 10 per cent least deprived areas of Scotland can expect to live for 84.8 years, 8.5 years longer than those in the 10 per cent most deprived areas (76.3 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 2.1 years lower than the UK average and female life expectancy is 1.8 years lower.
  • In Scotland, males and females can expect to live shorter lives (by 2.4 years and 2.1 years respectively) than in England, where male and female life expectancy is the highest in the UK.
  • Amongst European Union (EU) countries, male life expectancy was highest in England (79.2 years), 2.4 years higher than in Scotland. Female life expectancy was highest in Spain (84.7 years), 3.8 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 0.4 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 2001-2003 have been in Eilean Siar Council and Western Isles NHS Board area (5.4 years).
  • The biggest improvements in female life expectancy since 2001-2003 have been in East Dunbartonshire Council area, increasing by 3.4 years and Borders NHS Board area, increasing by 2.6 years.
  • The gap between male and female life expectancy at birth in Scotland has decreased from 6.2 years in 1980-1982 to 4.1 years in 2011-2013. Male life expectancy has been increasing at a faster rate than for females since 2001-2003 closing the gap over this period.

At age 65

  • Males in Scotland could expect to live for a further 17.3 years and females a further 19.6 years.
  • East Dunbartonshire Council area had the highest male life expectancy at age 65 (19.4 years), 4.4 years higher than in Glasgow City, where it was lowest at 15.0 years. Female life expectancy at age 65 was also highest in East Dunbartonshire (21.5 years) and lowest in Glasgow City (18.2 years), a difference of 3.3 years.
  • The NHS Board areas with the highest male and female life expectancy at age 65 were Orkney (18.7 years) and Shetland (20.8 years). It was lowest for males in Greater Glasgow & Clyde (16.2 years) and for females in Lanarkshire (18.7 years).
  • Male and female life expectancy at age 65 is highest in East Dunbartonshire Community Health Partnership area at 19.4 years and 21.5 years respectively. Males and females in Glasgow City Community Health Partnership have the lowest life expectancy at age 65, 15.0 years and 18.2 years respectively.

 The full publication, Life Expectancy for Areas in Scotland 2011-2013, is available on the NRS website.

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