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Rise in life expectancy is marred by widening inequality gap

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 15 February 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1141
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

Life expectancy in England as a whole is continuing to rise, but the gap in life expectancy between the richest and poorest groups of society is widening, show figures published this week.

The figures, from the Institute of Health Equity at University College London, show that life expectancy rose by 0.3 years for men and for women between 2007-8 and 2008-9. However, inequalities in life expectancy increased among men in 104 of 150 local authorities and among women in 92 local authorities.

The biggest difference in life expectancy in men was in the London borough of Westminster, where the difference between the richest and poorest men was 16.9 years, while the London borough of Hackney had the lowest difference, at 3.1 years. Inequalities in women’s life expectancy were not quite as marked.

Michael Marmot, director of the Institute of Health Equity, said, …

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