Poor northern men more likely to go to an early grave

Northern poor men are more likely to die younger there than poorer women, a new study has found.

Men living in the UK's top five deprived areas of Middlesbrough, Knowsley in Merseyside, Kingston-upon-Hull, Liverpool or Manchester are likely to die nearly 11 years sooner than their better off peers.

Although life expectancy is increasing overall and the life expectancies of men and women are converging, any improvements are slower paced in more deprived areas, with the net gap between rich and poor slowly worsening over time.

Men are the most affected by poverty than women, experts at City University London's Cass Business School said.

The gap in life expectancy at age 30 between the top and bottom one per cent of deprived neighbourhoods at 10.9 years for men and 8.4 years for women.

Men are 4.4 times more likely to die at the age of 44 in the most deprived 10 per cent of neighbourhoods, when compared to the 10 per cent of least deprived neighbourhoods.

North-south divide

Deprivation in England was heavily skewed towards urban areas, with the top five districts of deprivation in Northern England

By contrast in London, only Tower Hamlets, Haringey and Hackney fall into the top 50 deprived districts.

Life expectancy differences come down to unhealthy lifestyles and a lack of social mobility and investment.

Professor Les Mayhew said: "The causes of ill health are increasingly lifestyle related and rooted in the cultures of different socio-economic groups - think smoking, excessive drinking, obesity, drug abuse and mental illness.

"Efforts are being made to improve health outcomes in deprived areas but more resources need to be provided for preventative measures, training and education.

"Policy tools aimed at changing behaviour using financial incentives including taxes have shown to be successful and should also be considered."

Prof Mayhew and his team of researchers used the government-preferred Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) to measure Britain's deprivation which takes into account indicators including education, health and crime.

Gender gap

Of the narrowing of the gender gap when it comes to death Prof Mayhew added: "This will lead to fewer years of female isolation in later life and longer working lives for women which will have a positive impact on their retirement savings and general health and wellbeing.

"The geographical pattern of deprived districts in England is well established and the reputation of these districts as undesirable places to live tends to go before them, making them unattractive places to invest in.

"If Government is serious about redressing inequalities, creating attractive job opportunities for the young and investing in training and education is one way do this."

Baroness Sally Greengross OBE, Chief Executive, ILC-UK, said the report must be noticed by government to make appropriate changes for a fairer society.

She said: "The report's call for greater targeted investment in public health is welcome, but sadly echoes calls made by the International Longevity Centre and other experts that have gone unheeded for far too long.

"If the UK is to realise the potential of our rapidly ageing population and all that could mean for our society, we must ensure that the benefits of longevity are shared by all."

The research paper Inequalities Matter was conducted by Cass for the International Longevity Centre - UK (ILC-UK).