Boys born between 2007 and 2011 can expect to live to just over 82 years of age, just a little bit longer than average girls. However girls also in the professions can still expect to live three years longer to 85 years of age.
Men have been closing the life expectancy gap steadily over the last 30 years to an average age of 79 (compared to an average women’s life expectancy of 82 years) although the poorest men will only live until 74 (compared to the poorest women at 78).
Women, even if from the lowest socio-economic groups, have always lived longer than well-off men but that has changed. Why?
The decline of the mining industry and the move from physical labour in manufacturing to service industries have reduced deaths from accidents and industrial disease and the reduction in smoking (more men smoke than women and were heavier smokers) has also contributed together with improvements in health care.
However, despite being an advanced economy – the fifth largest in the world – the poorest people in the UK still live shorter lives by several years than their wealthier counterparts.