National Records of Scotland

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Life Expectancy in Scotland, 2018-2020

Life Expectancy in Scotland, 2018-2020

Last update: 23 September 2021National Statistics Icon
Next update: September 2022
Frequency: Annual

Key Findings

  • In Scotland in 2018-2020, life expectancy at birth was 76.8 years for males and 81.0 years for females. This is a decrease of around 17.6 weeks (0.3 years) for males and 6.1 weeks (0.1 years) for females since last year’s estimates and represents the biggest annual decrease since the series began.
  • This report describes period life expectancy. This is not a prediction of how long someone will live, but is an indicator which summarises the health of the population at a point in time.
  • Life expectancy in Scotland has increased since the early 1980s but then remained virtually unchanged between 2012-2014 and 2017-2019. In the most recent year it has now dropped below the 2012-2014 figure.
  • COVID-19 deaths accounted for the vast majority of the drop in life expectancy for both males and females.  Drug-related deaths also had a negative impact on life expectancy for males.
  • 65 year old males in 2018-2020 could expect to live another 17.5 years whilst 65 year old females had a further 19.8 years of life expectancy.
  • Scotland has the lowest life expectancy at birth of all UK countries. Average life expectancy in the UK was 79.0 years for males and 82.9 years for females. Over the latest year life expectancy has fallen in all UK countries.
  • Female life expectancy at birth was highest in East Renfrewshire (84.0 years) and lowest in Glasgow City (78.3 years).
  • Male life expectancy at birth was highest in Shetland Islands (80.6 years) and lowest in Glasgow City (73.1 years)
  • The majority of Scotland’s council areas have experienced a slow-down or a stall in life expectancy growth since 2012-2014 and many areas now have decreasing life expectancy with Inverclyde, Dundee City and South Ayrshire experiencing some of the biggest decrease.
  • The gap in life expectancy between the most and least deprived areas was 13.5 years for males and 10.2 years for females. This gap has become wider over the past few years growing by 1.3 years for males and 1.6 years for females since 2013-2015.

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