Glasgow has lowest life expectancy in the UK

Babies born in the Scottish city of Glasgow, which will host the Commonwealth Games later this year, are expected to have shorter lives than those born anywhere else in the UK

In Summer 2014, athletes at the peak of physical fitness will visit the city of Glasgow to compete in the 2014 Commonwealth Games. However, babies born in the biggest city in Scotland are expected to live the shortest lives of any in the UK, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Between 2010 and 2012, newly born baby boys in Glasgow had a life expectancy of 72.6 years while for girls it was 78.5. The UK averages for male and female life expectancy were 78.9 and 82.7 respectively.

The city has officially had the lowest male and female life expectancies in the UK since the release of the 2006-08 results. These latest ONS figures show that just 75% of boys and 85% of girls born in the city are expected to reach their 65th birthday.

The areas with the highest male life expectancy were generally in the south of the country. Baby boys in East Dorset and Hart can expect to live longer than anywhere else in the country with life expectancies of 82.9 years.

72% of local areas in Scotland, 36% in Wales and 19% in Northern Ireland were within the fifth of areas with the lowest life expectancies for males at birth. However, only one area in Northern Ireland and none from Scotland and Wales were in the top fifth. There was a similar picture for baby girls too.

Glasgow (78.5) and West Dunbartonshire (78.7), both in Scotland, are the only places in the UK where the life expectancy for female babies is lower than the national average for males.

While on the opposite end of the country, a baby girl born in Purbeck in the south-west can expect to live to the ripe old age of 86.6. Only areas from the south-east, south-west, London and the east of the country make it into the top ten places with the highest life expectancies for female babies.

How this fits with the national picture

The gap between the area with the highest life expectancy and the one with the lowest for males is shown in the chart below. Although in all areas the age a baby boy can expect to live has gone up over time, the gap between the areas with the highest and lowest life expectancies has remained similar.

The ONS writes:

Although geographical inequality in life expectancy fell for both sexes, the decrease was more pronounced for females. The difference in male life expectancy between the local areas with the highest and lowest figures fell from 10.6 years in 2000–02 to 10.3 years in 2010–12. For females, the comparable difference fell from 9.2 years to 8.1 years over the periods.

Commonwealth Games officials are hoping that the games will help encourage the city and the country to become healthy. Given Glasgow's position as lowest on the male and female life expectancy tables for several years running it comes to the place which may need that boost the most.

If you want to see how your own local area fares then the ONS have produced a series of interactive animated maps to let you do just that.

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