UK Life Expectancy 2023

Life expectancy in the UK in 2023 is 81.77 years. This is an increase of 0.15% since 2022.

UK Life Expectancy has increased

The UK life expectancy has increased since the 19th century with a gradual decline in mortality rates. Improvements in healthcare and the advent of modern medicine have reduced infant and childhood mortality,thereby causing a long-term rise in life expectancy.

Consequently, the current UK life expectancy is 81.77 years. The data is based on UN projections which do not take the impact of COVID-19 into account. This average exhibits a 0.15% increase from 2021. In reality, the average life expectancy growth rate slowed down during 2020. Between 2018 to 2020, there was a general dip in the life expectancy of both males and females. 

Take a look at the UN projections for UK life expectancy from 1950 through 2100. They show an increase in life expectancy from under 70 years to over 90 years by 2100:

Chart and table of UK life expectancy (Source: United Nations – World Population Prospects)

Based on the above UN projections, this table lists life expectancy data for the UK since 2002. As you can see, in just 17 years, UK life expectancy has increased by nearly three years in less than a decade:

YearLife ExpectancyGrowth Rate
Historical life expectancy data, UK. (click here for the more comprehensive list)

UK Life Expectancy: Male vs Female

In contrast to the UN projections above, data from the UK’s Office for National Statistics shows a steady increase followed by a decrease in life expectancy between 2018 and 2020 for both males and females. According to the latest national life tables released by the Office for National Statistics, life expectancy in the UK between 2018 to 2020 was 79.0 for males and 82.9 for females.

Similarly, life expectancy at 65 years for males was 18.5 years, and for females 21.0 years. The estimates showed a 1-week decline for males and a 3.1-week increase for females. The overall life expectancy for both groups hasincreased during the last 40 years, but at a slower rate than in the past decade. 

Consider the following life expectancy chart:

Life expectancy in the UK from 1980 to 2020 (source: Office for National Statistics – National Life Tables – Life Expectancy in the UK: 2018 to 2020)

The Covid-19 pandemic also impacted the existing life expectancy inequalities for both sexes, as made evident by the following slope index of inequality:

Provisional slope index of inequality in life expectancy between 2015 and 2020 (source: dataset from PHE’s Wilder Impacts of Covid-19 on Health monitoring tool)

England Life Expectancy

According to Statista, the life expectancy in England (one of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom) between 2018 and 2020 was 79.33 for males and 83.12 for females. The country had the highest datasets for both sexes compared to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Scotland Life Expectancy

From the same dataset on UK life expectancy, by gender and country, Scotland’s life expectancy between the 2018/20 period averaged at 76.79 for males and 81.01 for females. These were the lowest figures among all the UK’s countries.

Locally, East Renfrewshire had the highest female life expectancy at 84.0 years. Male life expectancy was highest in the Shetland Islands at 80.6 years. 

Additionally, the gap in Scotland’s life expectancy has grown by a multiple of 1.3 for males and 1.6 for females since the 2013-15 non-overlapping period. It was 13.5 years for males and 10.2 years for females.

Life expectancy at 65 years during the 2018 to 2020 period was 17.5 years for males and 19.8 years for females. Click here for a more detailed review of the life expectancies in Scotland between 2018-2020.

Wales Life Expectancy

Life expectancy in Wales was recorded at 78.29 for males and 82.09 for females, and the pandemic was blamed for the decline in life expectancy for the first time in 40 years. The figures were 1 week less for males and 9.9 weeks for females compared to previous figures from the 2015/17 period.

Northern Ireland Life Expectancy

During the 2018-2020 survey period, Northern Ireland had an average life expectancy of 78.65 for males and 82.38 for females. Figures from the Department of Health for the 2017/19 and 2016/18 periods were similar to Statista’s most recent datasets. 

Moreover, the life expectancy was highest in Lisburn and Castlereagh, 80.1 for males and 83.5 for females, and life expectancy was lowest in Belfast LDG, 76.1 for males and 81.0 for females

Here’s a bar chart for the UK life expectancy in all four countries:

Life expectancy in the UK, by gender and country: 2018 to 2020 (source: Office for National Statistics, UK)

Where Is Life Expectancy Highest in the UK?

Life expectancy is highest in the UK in England. More specifically, London’s life expectancy growth rates far surpass all other regions in the UK for both males and females. 

Moreover, the largest local increase in male life expectancy between the periods of 2009/11 and 2017/19 was in the region of Westminster, London. For females, the largest increase was in the Scottish council area of Na h-Eileanan Siar. 

Where Is Life Expectancy Lowest in the UK?

At the national level, Scotland’s life expectancy was the lowest among UK countries at 76.8 years for males and 81.0 for females. Locally, Glasgow has the lowest life expectancy in the UK.

According to the National Records of Scotland, life expectancy in Glasgow was 78.3 years for females and 73.1 years for males. Overall, life expectancy in Scotland has receded below the 2012-2014 figure. Areas experiencing the biggest decrease include Inverclyde, Dundee City, and South Ayrshire.

The following are the summary statistics by the Office for National Statistics concerning each region in the UK:

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