Life expectancy in the UK has risen steadily throughout recent history. However, there’s evidence that this long-term trend is finally running out of steam.
2010 marked a turning point in long-term mortality trends, with improvements tailing off after decades of steady decline – in both males and females, and at younger and older ages. In the 100 years to 2010–12, life expectancy increased by nearly three years every decade, but between 2011 and 2016 it increased by only 0.4 years for males and 0.2 years for females.
2015 was an exceptional year when life expectancy fell across virtually all of Europe. The age-standardised mortality rate3 in England and Wales in 2015 increased by 3 per cent for males and 5 per cent for females over 2014, leading to a fall in life expectancy. Most of the ‘excess’ deaths occurred early in the year and among people aged 75+.
Although life expectancy has picked up in 2016 and 2017, the Office for National Statistics announcement that the mortality rate in quarter one of 2018 was higher than in any quarter since 2009 prompted the Department of Health and Social Care to ask Public Health England to undertake a review of mortality trends in England and Wales.
The Kingsfund has a really excellent article on the subject on their website at the moment and it’s well worth a read as this is a fascinating and revealing subject.