Why living in the North means you’re more likely to have an illness-ridden retirement



08:40 GMT, 14 June 2012

The report said health inequalities have enormous social and economic costs

The report said health inequalities have enormous social and economic costs

A rich-poor divide in England means people living in the North-East are less likely to enjoy a healthy retirement than those in the South East, figures show.

A report released by the Office for National Statistics revealed a six-year difference in healthy life expectancy between the two regions.

The data shows a 16-year-old boy living in the North-East can expect to have 45.3 disability-free years, but this rises to 51.5 healthy years in the South-East.

A similar trend can be seen among
women where a 16-year-old girl in the South-East can expect to have 52.3
healthy years compared to the 45.9 years in the North-East.

figures equate to men staying healthy for 80 per cent of their lives in
the South-East compared to 74 per cent in the North-East. For
women the figures are around 77 per cent in the South-East, compared with 70 per cent in the North East.

It means those in the North will experience
disability or illness before they reach the rising state pension age,
while those in the South will enjoy some healthy years as pensioners.

The ONS said the study revealed how health inequalities 'have enormous social and economic costs.'

Southerners also live longer on average, with men reaching 79.7 years in the South-East compared to 77.8 years in the North-East.

Life expectancy was lowest in Blackpool
for England as a whole, with men reaching 74.3 years. It was highest in
the affluent London suburb of Kensington and Chelsea where men live a
decade longer, popping their clogs at 85.

 Colourful terraced houses in Portland Road Kensington and Chelsea

Blackpool Tower with Tram

Highs and lows: Men living in Kensington (pictured left) live a decade longer than men living in Blackpool (right)

The ONS said: 'The impending increase in the state pension age is therefore likely to have disproportionate implications for the length of retirement which is spent disability-free for both men and women if living in the North East region compared with the South East.

'The ONS findings highlight the fact that health inequalities have enormous social and economic costs and points to the likely benefits that would be realised if everyone experienced the same health as those in the best performing areas on these measures.'

The report concluded that there was a compelling case to keep monitoring the inequalities to see whether government health and social policies are able to close the hap between north and south.