Staggering difference in life chances in poorest areas of England (Health Foundation response to ONS Health state life expectancies by national deprivation

Responding to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data on Health state life expectancies by national deprivation quintiles (England: 2018 to 2020)David Finch, Assistant Director of Health Lives at the Health Foundation, said:

‘Data released today by the ONS shows the uneven impact of the pandemic with greater falls in life expectancy in the poorest areas of England compared to the wealthiest. It also highlights that in the most deprived areas, people are living more of their life in ill health. Girls born in the poorest areas of England live 19 fewer years in good health than those born in the wealthiest. A staggering difference in life chances.

‘The recent levelling up white paper reiterated the government ambition to improve healthy life expectancy by five years by 2035, while narrowing the gap between the experience of the richest and poorest. Our analysis has shown that a return to pre-pandemic trends would mean this improvement takes 192 years to achieve.

Reducing these stark inequalities requires a fundamental shift towards a whole-government approach that actively improves the conditions needed to create good health, such as adequate incomes to cope with the rising cost of living, secure jobs and decent housing. The upcoming disparities white paper presents a clear opportunity to move beyond the rhetoric and into action.’