British life expectancy has dropped in the world rankings with only the US faring worst among advanced economies, according to new analysis.
Some 70 years ago people in the UK had one of the longest life expectancies ratings in the world, ranking tenth globally behind countries such as Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
But despite the average person now living more than 12 years longer than in 1950, progress has stalled compared to other developed nations, with the UK falling to 36 on the global standings.
The only G7 country to fare worse is the US, which has dropped from 13 to 53 in the UN list of 200 countries.
Experts suggested the sluggish progress was likely down to the health inequalities widening, resulting in poorer social groups dying earlier than the wealthy.
The graph shows how each G7 country fared in international life expectancy rankings each year from 1950 to 2020. While Japan climbed from 45th place to third, the UK slumped from 10th to 36th and the US plummeted from 13th to 53rd. It is based on data from academics from the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who examined global life expectancy ratings
The likes of Japan has seen remarkable improvements, moving up from 45th to third in the world rankings. Pictured: Aerial view of Tokyo cityscape with Fuji mountain
The average life expectancy in the UK has risen from 68.63 years in 1950 to 80.43 years in 2020, compared to 68.06 and 77.41 respectively in the US. Pictured: Aerial view of the Central Park in New York
Academics from the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine examined global life expectancy ratings between 1952 and 2021.
They paid particular attention to G7 nations — UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US — a collection of countries with advanced economies that represent about half of global economic output.
They found that over seven decades, the UK fared worse than all G7 countries except the US.
While life expectancy has increased since the start of the study, similar countries have seen larger increases, according to the findings published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.
The average life expectancy in the UK has risen from 68.63 years in 1950 to 80.43 years in 2020, compared to 68.06 and 77.41 respectively in the US.
However, these improvements have failed to keep pace with countries such as Norway and Sweden, where people can now expect to live until 83.20 and 82.43 respectively.
A map, showing the change in life expectancy between 1800, 1950 and 2015, illustrates the drastic global divide
The 10 countries with the LONGEST life expectancy
- Hong Kong – 85.2 years
- Macao – 85.18 years
- Japan – 84.69 years
- Australia – 84.32 years
- Republic of Korea – 83.61 years
- Malta- 83.36 years
- Norway – 83.2 years
- Switzerland – 83.07 years
- Martinique – 83.05 years
- Singapore – 82.86 years
The 10 countries with the SHORTEST life expectancy
- Chad – 52.78 years
- Nigeria – 52.89 years
- Central African Republic -54.6 years
- Lesotho – 54.69
- South Sudan – 55.48 years
- Somalia – 55.97 years
- Mali – 58.63 years
- Cote d-Ivoire – 53.09 years
- Guinea – 59.33 years
- Eswatini – 59.69 years
Meanwhile, the likes of Japan has seen remarkable improvements, moving up from 45th to third in the world rankings.
The authors said Britain’s fall down the ranks has been decades in the making, which includes a rise in income inequalities in the UK during and after the 1980s.
Professor Martin McKee, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: ‘That rise also saw an increase in the variation in life expectancy between different social groups.
‘One reason why the overall increase in life expectancy has been so sluggish in the UK is that in recent years it has fallen for poorer groups.’
Dr Lucinda Hiam, of the University of Oxford, said: ‘The rankings show that the only G7 country to do worse than the UK is the USA.’
Dr Hiam added: ‘In the short term, the government has an acute crisis to address. However, a relative worsening of population health is evidence that all is not well.
‘It has historically been an early sign of severe political and economic problems.
‘This new analysis suggests that the problems the UK faces are deep-seated and raises serious questions about the path that this country is following.’
|Ranking||Region, sub-region, country or area||Life Expectancy at Birth (years)|
|5||Republic of Korea||83.61|
|43||United Arab Emirates||78.95|
|44||Antigua and Barbuda||78.84|
|53||United States of America||77.41|
|65||Bosnia and Herzegovina||76.23|
|81||United States Virgin Islands||74.94|
|82||Iran (Islamic Republic of)||74.83|
|88||Trinidad and Tobago||74.41|
|89||State of Palestine||74.4|
|97||Dem. People’s Republic of Korea||73.27|
|112||Syrian Arab Republic||72.14|
|113||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||72.13|
|122||Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)||71.1|
|126||Micronesia (Fed. States of)||70.67|
|132||Republic of Moldova||70.17|
|141||Lao People’s Democratic Republic||68.5|
|147||Sao Tome and Principe||67.79|
|154||United Republic of Tanzania||66.41|
|156||Papua New Guinea||65.79|
|164||Bolivia (Plurinational State of)||64.47|
|189||Democratic Republic of the Congo||59.74|
|198||Central African Republic||54.6|
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