Average life expectancy UK
Life expectancy in the UK has improved dramatically within the last 50 years. Advances in medication, living conditions and more mean that on average we are living longer than ever before.
Here, we are aiming to answer every possible question relating to life expectancy in the UK. This includes differences depending on gender, postcode, and other risk factors. We also discuss the best possible ways to increase your lifespan, to help give you more time with your loved ones.
60-Second Summary – Average Life Expectancy UK
Over the last 50 – 60 years, the average life span in the UK has increased by around 10 years due to advancements in medication, health and lifestyle factors. Life expectancy can be affected by various factors such as gender, where in the UK you live (postcode) and any medical conditions you may have.
- According to the Office for National Statistics, the average life expectancy for men in the UK is 79.0 years (as of the most recent figures published in 2020).
- According to the Office for National Statistics, the average life expectancy for women in the UK is 82.9 years (as of the most recent figures published in 2020).
- There are simple ways that you could potentially improve your life expectancy, though none of them are guaranteed. This includes things such as quitting smoking, exercising more, cutting out alcohol or drugs and improving your diet.
What’s the average life expectancy in the UK?
As many people are now living much longer, it is believed the UK will have an older population within the next 50 years. It is expected that by the year 2070 there will be an additional 8.6million over 65s living in the UK.
There is generally a life expectancy gap between men and women. Women overally tend to live longer than men on average.
The Office for National Statistics states that the average life expectancy in the UK currently is:
Average male life expectancy UK – 79.0 years (life expectancy at birth)
Average female life expectancy UK – 82.9 years (life expectancy at birth)
Average (most common) age at death – 86.7 years (male), 89.3 years (female)
Why are we living longer now on average?
Lifespans in the UK have grown longer as the years have passed.
Back in 1765, it was uncommon to live past the age of 39. Luckily for us all, this figure has nearly doubled within the last 200 years.
This table highlights how lifespans are still getting longer, with notable changes over the last 50 years.
There have been many improvements to the quality of life in the UK, which has resulted in longer lifespans. Factors that have helped include:
- Advancements in medicine such as new vaccinations, better treatment for medical conditions, preventative medicine and more
- Healthier lifestyle choices and better availability of varied food for a balanced diet
- Government investment in healthcare services and education about healthy living
- Generally better living and working conditions across the country
As you can see in the table, a UK resident will now live for around 10-11 years longer on average compared to the average lifespan back in the 1960s.
While we could now expect to live to around 81.85 years (as of 2020 estimates), the figure was around 70.61 years only 60 years ago.
With this in mind, UK life spans could be as high as 90 years old on average by the time it is the year 2080.
UK life expectancy over time
Overall, people in the UK are living longer than they were 40-50 years ago. This rate has increased over time and continues to do so. It has increased at a slower rate within the last decade though.
Improved figures can be put down to advances in medical treatments and healthcare, plus improvements in living and working conditions.
2000 – 2010 – males lived for 42-53 weeks longer than previously predicted, females lived 29-42 weeks longer than previously predicted
2010 – 2019– slower improvements, only years where increases were reported were 2017-2019
2019 – 2020 – life expectancy dropped by 7 weeks for males (impact of the coronavirus pandemic)
Over the last few years, there have been minor changes to how long UK residents are expected to live. The most notable changes are:
- Men are living on average 7 weeks less compared to previous figures
- Women are living on average around half a week longer compared to previous figures
- Life expectancy past age 65 has declined slightly – 18.5 years for males (1 week less), 21.0 years for females (3.1 weeks less)
Life expectancy UK by postcode
Estimated healthy life expectancy rates in the UK can vary depending on where you live. Here, we have all the latest figures for life expectancy by location (based on figures from 2018-2020).
|Location||Life expectancy (male)||Life expectancy (female)|
|England||79.3 years||83.1 years|
|Wales||78.3 years||82.1 years|
|Scotland||76.8 years||81.0 years|
|Northern Ireland||78.7 years||82.4 years|
There are even more detailed estimations of life expectancy based on your postcode. The ONS have posted figures for specific areas in England.
|Location||Life expectancy (male)||Life expectancy (female)|
|North East England||77.6 years||81.5 years|
|North West England||77.9 years||81.7 years|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||78.7 years||82.2 years|
|East Midlands||79.2 years||82.7 years|
|West Midlands||78.5 years||82.5 years|
|East of England||80.2 years||83.8 years|
|London||80.3 years||84.3 years|
|South East England||80.6 years||84.1 years|
|South West England||80.3 years||84.1 years|
Where has the lowest life expectancy in the UK?
Life expectancy and medical conditions
Certain medical conditions can dramatically affect your life expectancy. Below we have some facts about various medical conditions in the UK and their impact on lifespan.
|Smoker’s life expectancy UK||Around 10 years lower than non smokers. |
Increased risk of developing other medical conditions that could limit your life.
More information – NHS – Why it is always the right time to quit
|Cancer life expectancy||50% of cancer patients will survive cancer for 10 or more years from diagnosis (double the rate of 24% from 40 years ago). |
Survival rates can also vary depending on the type, stage, and grade of your cancer.
More information – Cancer Research UK – Cancer survival statistics
|Diabetes life expectancy||Men can expect to live for 77 years and women 81 years on average. |
Type 1 diabetes life expectancy – previously around 20 years less on average. This figure is now hugely reduced due to improvements in medical care.
Type 2 diabetes life expectancy – reduced by up to 10 years.
Diabetes can reduce life expectancy due to an increased risk of kidney disease, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure/cholesterol.
More information – Diabetes.co.uk – Diabetes life expectancy
|Life expectancy after stroke||Depending on the severity of stroke, you could expect to live for up to 9 and a half years less. |
Many people do recover well from stroke, with minimal or no effect on life expectancy.
Strokes are responsible for around 35,000 deaths in the UK every year. This number has reduced due to better awareness of symptoms, meaning treatment is received sooner.
More information – Brain Research UK – Stroke
|Life expectancy after heart attack||Many people can recover fully from a heart attack with minor impact on their overall lifespan. This is helped with regular exercise and a balanced diet. |
If your heart attack is linked to other conditions e.g. heart disease or heart failure, this can shorten your life.
Heart failure life expectancy – around 5 years from diagnosis
|HIV life expectancy UK||With the right treatment, people with HIV can now expect to live a normal lifespan. |
The sooner HIV is diagnosed and treatment starts the better the life expectancy will be.
More information – AIDSmap – Life expectancy for people living with HIV
|Obesity life expectancy||Obesity can reduce an average lifespan by between 3 to 10 years. |
Having a high BMI can also increase the risk of developing other medical conditions.
This includes conditions such as heart disease or stroke which can also limit your life expectancy.
More information – NHS – Obesity: Overview
|Crohn’s disease life expectancy UK||If you have Crohn’s disease, your lifespan may be up to 5-6 years shorter (men) or 6-8 years shorter (women). |
This is the same for other inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis.
Crohn’s disease medication can also affect your lifespan. Immunosuppressant drugs can increase your risk of illness or infection.
More information – Healthline – Can Crohn’s disease be fatal?
|MS life expectancy UK||On average, people with MS can expect to live on 5 to 10 years less than average. |
This gap has reduced over time and appears to be continuing to decrease, according to the NHS.
More information – NHS – Multiple Sclerosis: Overview
|Mental health life expectancy||People with serious mental health issues can live on average 15 to 20 years less (as of 2019). |
This will not be the case for all people and all mental health conditions. Mental health disorders can increase the risk of developing physical health problems as well.
The NHS are working to address this, to improve care for patients with mental health conditions.
More information – NHS – Achieving more for people with severe mental illness
|Epilepsy life expectancy||Epilepsy related deaths increased 70% between 2001-2014. On average, someone with epilepsy with live for 8 years less than someone without epilepsy. |
You are 3 times more likely to die due to epilepsy if you are from a deprived area.
More information – Epilepsy Action – Epilepsy facts and terminology
What are the leading causes of death in the UK?
As of April 2023, these were the most common causes of death in England.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease – 97.6 deaths
Heart disease – 84.1 deaths
Chronic respiratory diseases – 46.6 deaths
Cerebrovascular diseases (e.g. stroke) – 43.4 deaths
Cancerous tumour of the trachea or lung – 39.5 deaths
Pneumonia or flu – 34.6 deaths
Other (undefined conditions) – 30.5 deaths
Coronavirus (Covid-19) – 26.3 deaths
Cancerous tumour of the colon or anus – 22.7 deaths
Lymphoma (cancerous) – 17.8 deaths
Improving life expectancy
We can all make changes to our health and lifestyle that could boost our chances of living longer. Various lifestyle choices can increase the risk for developing conditions that could shorten our lives significantly.
Removing or reducing these factors could massively improve life expectancy, though of course some conditions are still likely to be developed due to genetics.
These are some of the main lifestyle related risk factors, and the conditions that can be caused by or linked to them.
|Lifestyle risk factor||Known linked medical conditions|
|Smoking||Cancer (7 in 10 lung cancer cases), heart disease, stroke, respiratory conditions, diabetes, COPD, asthma, circulatory disease, heart attack, heart disease, pneumonia, lower immune system|
|Obesity (overweight)||Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, cancer, stroke, depression, heart disease, fatty liver disease, high blood pressure|
|High alcohol consumption||Cancer, liver disease, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, pancreatitis, depression, dementia, kidney disease, lower immune system|
|Drug use||Cancer, lung disease, heart disease, HIV, liver disease, kidney disease, neurological conditions, cardiovascular conditions, lower immune system|
|Poor diet||Cancer, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, high blood pressure, dementia, coronary heart disease, high cholesterol, stroke|
Here are some of the main ways to add some extra years onto your lifespan:
- Exercise daily (if possible): Even a short walk can help get your blood flowing and improve your health
- Eat well: Try to eat a balanced diet including fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy products (or alternatives), grains, carbohydrates etc
- Cut down on smoking/drinking alcohol: Smoking and alcohol can have a negative impact on your health and can lead to life limited conditions like heart disease and cancer.
- Reduce stress where you can: Stress can be linked to a number of conditions such as high blood pressure which can put a strain on your health
- Reduce salt intake: Having too much salt in your diet can increase your cholesterol
- Take care of your mental health: Mental wellbeing is just as important as physical wellbeing, and should also be prioritised
- Get enough rest: it is believed getting less than 5 hours of sleep per night can take years off your life – so make sure you’re getting your full 8 hours where you can!
What is my life expectancy UK?
If you want to work out your life expectancy, the Office for National Statistics has an online calculator you can use.
Protecting your life
Death can be an uncomfortable topic for many, but one worth talking about. It is best to have some form of safety net in place in the event of your death, to prevent your family struggling financially in the future.
Life insurance is the #1 way to provide your loved ones with peace of mind and financial security. For FREE life insurance advice and support, you can talk to one of our award-winning experts.
Call 0800 009 6559 or complete our quick online form to find out how you can protect your home and family from as little as £5 per month.