Covid impact on life expectancy in Devon shown

Life expectancy has risen in Devon, despite the impact of the pandemic causing stalling and falling levels across much of the UK.

Edward Oldfield www.devonlive.com

Figures released by the Officer for National Statistics (ONS) show that for men in the area, life expectancy at birth was 80.7 years in 2018 to 2020 – up from 80.4 years in 2015 to 2017 – a rise of 14 weeks.

For women, it rose by 22.4 weeks, taking life expectancy at birth from 84.2 years in 2015 to 2017 to 84.6 years in 2018 to 2020, although the rise was not seen in all parts of the area.

Life expectancy in Torbay has fallen – life expectancy at birth for men was 78.6 years in 2018 to 2020, down from 78.7 years in 2015 to 2017.

For women, life expectancy at birth fell from 82.8 years in 2015 to 2017 to 82.5 years in 2018 to 2020.

Life expectancy also fell for men in Plymouth, down from 79.0 years in 2015 to 2017 to 78.8 years in 2018 to 2020.

However, for women, it rose from 82.2 years in 2015 to 2017, to 82.5 years in 2018 to 2020.

The figures released this morning by the ONS are the first to include higher death rates seen in 2020 due to coronavirus.

Life expectancy at birth in the UK in 2018 to 2020 was 79.0 years for men and 82.9 years for women.

Compared to 2015 to 2017, that was seven weeks less for men, and almost no change for women (a slight increase of 0.5 weeks).

Pamela Cobb, Centre for Ageing and Demography at the ONS, said the coronavirus pandemic led to a greater number of deaths than normal in 2020, leading to virtually no improvement in life expectancy for women and life expectancy for men falling back to levels reported for 2012 to 2014.

She said: “Life expectancy has increased in the UK over the last 40 years, albeit at a slower pace in the last decade.

“This is the first time we have seen a decline when comparing non-overlapping time periods since the series began in the early 1980s.

“These estimates rely on the assumption that current levels of mortality, which are unusually high, will continue for the rest of someone’s life.

“Once the coronavirus pandemic has ended and its consequences for future mortality are known, it is possible that life expectancy will return to an improving trend in the future.”

Life expectancy for those aged 65 years was another 18.5 years for men and 21.0 years for women.

These estimates are very similar to those for 2015 to 2017, with a slight decline of a week for men and an increase of 3.1 weeks for women.

Male life expectancy between 2018 and 2020 was highest in the South East (80.6 years) and lowest in Scotland (76.8 years), with a similar pattern for women, with the highest levels in London (84.3 years) and lowest in Scotland (81.0 years).

The impact of reduced life expectancy – like the impact of the pandemic – varied across the country.

There were significant reductions in male life expectancy at birth in England (7.8 weeks) and Scotland (11.0 weeks) in 2018 to 2020 compared with 2015 to 2017.

In Wales, male and female life expectancy at birth saw non-significant reductions between the same periods.

There were large falls in male life expectancy at birth in the North East (16.7 weeks) and Yorkshire and The Humber (16.2 weeks).

For women, it significantly reduced in the West Midlands (9.9 weeks).

Meanwhile, the South West saw a significant increase in life expectancy for women (17.7 weeks) and an increase in male life expectancy (5.7 weeks).

The continued improvement in life expectancy observed in the South West coincides with lower excess deaths and lower mortality involving Covid-19,compared with other regions of England.

See online DevonLive article for detailed data tabulation.

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