Poorest men in Scotland die 10 years before richest, report finds

Men living in Scotland's poorest areas can expect to die 10 years before those living in more well-off places, official statistics have confirmed.

The Drumchapel estate, with the edge of Bearsden looking down from the trees above. Life expectancy between the two is markedly different. Picture: Robert Perry

The life expectancy gap between the 20 per cent most and least deprived areas of Scotland was 10.5 years for males and 7.8 years for females, a report by the National Records of Scotland found.

The country has one of the lowest life expectancies in western Europe for both genders, at 77.1 years for men and 81.2 years for women.

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But is is the considerable variations between different parts of the country which will alarm health experts and anti-poverty campaigners.

Scottish Labour said it exposed the “postcode lottery” many faced for healthcare.

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The council areas with the highest life expectancy for women were East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire where a baby girl could expect to live for 83.5 years. By contrast, in West Dunbartonshire which had the lowest life expectancy for females, a baby girl would be expected to live for 78.8 years.

For men, life expectancy at birth was highest in Orkney Islands where a baby boy could expect to live until he was 80.3 years old. Glasgow City had the lowest life expectancy for males of 73.4 years.

All council areas have seen an increase in life expectancy since 2004-2006. For Scotland as a whole, life expectancy has increased for male by 2.5 years and for females by 1.6 years.

“The statistics published today show that every council area of Scotland has seen an increase in life expectancy over the past decade, but there is still a lot of variation between areas,” said Registrar General for Scotland Tim Ellis.

“The report shows that deprivation has a strong effect on life expectancy with people who live in more deprived areas expected to live shorter lives than those in less deprived areas.”

Scottish Labour Public Health spokesperson Colin Smyth said: “These figures expose the postcode lottery Scotland faces. The prosperity of the family you were born into has a huge impact on your life chances, quality of life and ultimately life expectancy.

“The blunt truth is that there has been an utter failure from existing government strategies to tackle health inequalities. We need to see radical action to address the gap between the richest and the poorest in Scotland.

“The SNP need to realise that a government cannot tackle health inequalities without tackling the wealth inequalities in our society.”