The interesting part of this is trying to work out why this has happened. Are, for example, lifespans for Glawegians actually declining?
"This was the government that said it stood for fairness. But the gap in life expectancy between the richest and poorest in our country is now greater than at any time since Queen Victoria\’s reign."
Mr Cameron was referring to figures from the Office for National Statistics showing that the difference in life expectancy between Glasgow and East Dorset has risen to 11 years.
I\’ve not seen any evidence that they are: it seems to be that lifespans are rising faster in some areas than they are in others. We are therefore talking about changes in relative lifespans, not absolute (although that\’s not quite right as of course lifespan is absolute for those having it)….as with most of our other wealth and poverty statistics.
So what\’s causing this divergence? The Scottish diet? The collapse of heavy industry on the Clyde (not that working in heavy industry has been known as a great life prolonger)? The ghastly council run slums surrounding the City?
Could it even be simply a case of survivor bias? East Dorset is one of those areas of England that people retire to, after all (Bournemouth for example). People live longer in East Dorset because people who live longer move in their retirement?
Unless we work out what the cause of this is, we\’ll never come up with any method of solving it: indeed, we\’ll never be able to work out whether it is a problem that either has or needs a solution.
Anyone seen the actual ONS report?
Here\’s the 2004-2006 figures. Last table shows that life expectancies are indeed rising for everyone, just unevenly.