Life expectancy falls in Scotland with Covid mostly to blame, stats show

A report from National Records of Scotland showed another decrease in life expectancy for both males and females.

Life expectancy falls in Scotland with Covid mostly to blame, stats show PA Media

Life expectancy in Scotland has fallen again, with the Covid-19 pandemic responsible for the “majority” of the decrease.

National Records of Scotland (NRS) said that drug deaths had also contributed to this latest drop.

It published figures which showed that babies born in Scotland over the period 2019 to 2021 will have a life expectancy of 76.6 years for males and 80.8 years for females.

For males that marks a reduction of over 11 weeks from the previous figures, which covered 2018 to 2020, while for females the fall is one of almost eight weeks.

Scotland continues to have the lowest life expectancy in the UK, NRS said.

Meanwhile, the difference in life expectancy for those living in deprived areas compared to those in more affluent communities is growing.

Looking overall at the drop in life expectancy between 2019 and 2021, NRS stated: “The majority of this fall is due to mortality from Covid-19.”

However, the report added: “There was also some contribution to the fall from increases in other causes of death, particularly drug-related deaths.”

Life expectancy in Scotland had increased between the early 1980s and the early 2010s, but then started to plateau over the period 2012 to 2014.

Over the period 2018 to 2020 Scotland had the sharpest fall in life expectancy for almost three decades.

Within Scotland, life expectancy was highest in Orkney Islands – where girls born between 2019 and 2021 can expect to live 83.8 years and boys born in the same period can expect to live to the age of 80.4.

However, in Glasgow City, the council area with the lowest life expectancy, this was 78 years for females and 72.9 years for males.

Male life expectancy in the most deprived parts of Scotland was 13.7 years lower than it is in the least deprived areas for 2019 to 2021.

For females the gap is lower at 10.5 years.

However, NRS noted: “Over the last few years this gap has widened.”

In 2013 to 2015, the life expectancy gap between the most and least deprived areas was 12.2 years for males and 8.6 years for females.

The latest figures showed that 25 of Scotland’s 32 council areas have seen male life expectancy decrease since 2012 to 2014 – with 21 council areas having seen a fall in life female life expectancy over the same period.

Comparing Scotland to the rest of the UK NRS said: “Scotland has the lowest life expectancy of all UK countries for both males and females.”

Data for the rest of the UK is only available up to the period 2018 to 2020 – at which point life expectancy for the UK as a whole was 82.9 years for females and 79.0 years for males.

“This is around two years higher than the equivalent figures for Scotland from the same year,” NRS said.

Julie Ramsay, head of vital events statistics at NRS, said: “Life expectancy has decreased by more than 11 weeks for males and almost eight weeks for females since 2018-2020.

“Our analysis shows that Covid-19 deaths accounted for the vast majority of the fall in life expectancy for both males and females.”

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