Men in Derry die 2.6yrs earlier than in Lisburn

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Derry men can expect to die two and a half years earlier, on average, than their fellows in the leafy South Belfast exurbs of Lisburn & Castlereagh, according to the Department of Health’s (DoH) latest biennial ‘Health Inequalities - Life Expectancy Decomposition 2017’ report.

Derry women, meanwhile, fare slightly better but can still only expect to live to within a year and a half of their counterparts in Lisburn & Castlereagh, which is the most long-lived of any district in the North.

The HILED 2017 report has revealed that males born in the Belfast (75.9 years) and Derry City & Strabane (77.3 years) Local Government Districts (LGDs) had lower life expectancies than the Northern average of 78.3 years, while those born in the Mid Ulster (79.3 years), Ards & North Down (79.4 years), Causeway Coast & Glens (79.5 years) and Lisburn & Castlereagh (79.9 years) LGDs enjoyed above average life expectancy rates.

Women in Derry suffer under a similar burden of inequality, according to the report, which was authored by DoH’s Information Analysis Directorate (IAD).

They too are dying younger, on average, than their more affluent citizens in other parts of the North.

Women born in Derry (81.7 years) had a lower life expectancy than the Northern average (82.3), and compared particularly badly with their sisters in the Causeway Coast & Glens (82.8 years), Mid Ulster (83.2 years) and Lisburn and Castlereagh (83.3 years) areas.

The detailed DoH analysis explored the extent to which mortality within certain age groups and causes of death contributed to variations in life expectancy between time periods, genders, deprivation levels, urban and rural areas, and between the North and England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland.

It was produced as part of the NI Health & Social Care Inequalities Monitoring System (HSCIMS) and presents life expectancy estimates for 2013-15.

Among its key findings are that over 2013-15, life expectancy in the North stood at 78.3 years for males and 82.3 years for females, with no change from 2012-14.

And there are positives.

For example, over the last five years life expectancy in the North increased by 0.9 years for males and 0.4 years for females and since 1980-82, life expectancy in the North has grown at a faster rate than in any other UK region.

Notwithstanding this, life expectancy rates here remained lower than in England and the RoI in 2013-15.

Higher mortality due to suicide (0.4 years) and cancer (0.3 years) were the largest contributions to the NI-England male life expectancy gap (1.1 years).

A large proportion of the NI-RoI male life expectancy gap (0.8 years) can be explained by higher mortality from cancer, suicide and mental and behavioural disorders, the report has also revealed.

Higher mortality among females aged 40-69 years in the North also contributed greatly (0.6 years) to the NI-RoI gap (1.0 years) for women.

The NI-England female life expectancy gap (0.8 years) was mainly due to higher mortality from cancer, maternal and infant conditions, and Coronary Heart Disease and stroke.

Women, of course, are still living longer than men.

In 2013-15, the differential between male and female life expectancy was 4.0 years, which was mainly attributable to higher death rates for males from cancer (1.4 years), circulatory disease (1.2 years) and suicide (0.6 years).

Cancer and circulatory disease were large contributors to both male (7.0 years) and female (4.7 years) life expectancy gaps between the most and least deprived areas.

The authors have also found far lower life expectancy rates in more deprived areas.

For example, male life expectancy for those living in the most deprived areas was 74.1 years, 7.0 years less than that in the least deprived areas (81.1 years).

Cancer (1.7 years) and circulatory diseases (1.6 years) each contributed almost one‐quarter of the deprivation gap.

A further year of the male deprivation gap was attributable to suicide, more than half of which was among 20-39 year olds.

This was replicated to a lesser extent among women.

Females in the most deprived areas, for example, had a life expectancy of 79.4 years, 4.7 years lower than that in the least deprived areas.

Cancer related mortality accounted for almost a third (1.4 years) of the female deprivation gap, of which half (0.7 years) was attributable to lung cancer.

While almost a quarter (1.1 years) of the female deprivation gap was due to higher mortality from circulator diseases.

Unsurprisingly, the latest Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) statistics outlining the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits across the North have shown that in October 2017 the highest claimant count rates were in Derry City & Strabane (4.8 per cent) and Belfast (3.2 per cent), the same areas that suffer the lowest average life expectancies.

Also predictably, the area with the highest average life expectancy for both men and women, Lisburn & Castlereagh, had the joint lowest claimant count rate in the North, tied with Mid Ulster, at 1.5 per cent of the working age population.