Women in Richmond-upon-Thames in south-west London live 15 years longer in good or very good health than women in the east London borough of Tower Hamlets, according to figures that expose huge inequalities in health and longevity across the UK.
Richmond is one of London’s most affluent boroughs, with a population of 187,000, an unemployment rate of 3%, and an average income of about £41,600. According to the 2011 census, 73.2% of the population is white British. Tower Hamlets is an urban mix of Docklands skyscrapers and some of the poorest communities in the city. It has a population of 295,000, an unemployment rate of 8%, and a median household income of £30,805, a figure heavily skewed by highly paid workers in Canary Wharf. The local population is 31% white British and 34% Bangladeshi.
Men in Wokingham, Berkshire, enjoy the longest healthy lives, with 14.1 more years of good or very good health than men in Manchester, who are the unhealthiest in Britain.
An Office for National Statistics report on health expectancies at birth and at age 65 finds that newborn males born between 2010 and 2012 could expect to live 78.8 years and females 82.6.
On average, men can expect to enjoy 63.2 years in good or very good health (80.3% of their lives) while for women the figure is 64.6 years (78.2% of their lives).
Having reached age 65, men can expect to live another 18.3 years and women 20.8 years. But only half of those retirement years will be spent in good or very good health, placing a huge burden on the NHS and pensions.
Scotland emerges as the country with the worst longevity. A male born in Scotland can expect to live to 76.5 years, two-and-a-half years less than the average English man, who can expect to live to 79.1 years. Residents of the Orkney Islands live 12.5 years longer than people in Glasgow.