Life Expectancy

Life expectancy is the average number of years a person can be expected to live if the levels of death in a population stay the same as they are today. We can measure this for people born in a particular year (a birth cohort) or for everyone living in a specific year (i.e. 2013).

A person living today could live twice as long as someone living just 100 years ago. In fact, since 1850, we have increased our life expectancy by around 2 ½ years per decade. Advances in medicine, better diets and healthier living environments have all helped, but unequal access to education and medical care means as well as war and famine mean that this general increase in life expectancy varies across the globe. Lifestyle has a big influence on life expectancy, so making small changes can have an impact on how long a person might expect to live.

‘Using the interactive graphic below, you can explore life expectancy in the UK today. Find out the estimated life expectancy at birth or age 65 depending on gender and location.


1. If you were a male born today in Norland, Kensington (W11 4QGX), what would your life expectancy be?

2. If you were the same man but instead born in Victoria, Blackpool (FY1 5LE), what would your life expectancy be?

3. If you were a 65 year old female in Camden, London (NW1 OHY), what age would you be expected to live to?

4. If you were the same woman but lived in Ancoats and Clayton, Manchester(M4 5AE), how much shorter would your life expectancy be than if you were in Camden?

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The ESRC Centre for Population Change aims to improve our understanding of the extent, drivers and implications of population change in the UK and beyond.
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