Men from west London, one of the wealthiest areas of the UK, have the longest life expectancy of males in Europe with a newborn baby expected to live to the age of 82, according to statistics published to mark International Men’s Day.
The data from the EU department Eurostat suggests that only men from the city centre of the Spanish capital, Madrid, tend to live as long as the fortunate subset of Londoners.
Prof Michael Marmot, a former government adviser and the author of a landmark report on life expectancy in 2010, warned, however, against characterising west London as a place of privilege.
“There is huge inequality,” Marmot said. “At the time of the Grenfell Tower disaster the median income in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea was £32,700-a-year. The mean was £123,000-a-year. And the life expectancy for men in the area around Grenfell Tower was 14 years lower than for men in the richest part of the borough.”
In line with a Europe-wide trend, women from the same statistical area of “inner London – west”, which includes Camden, the City, Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Wandsworth, can expect to live more than three years longer than their male neighbours, dying on average at the age of 85.6.
Since life expectancy was first recorded, women around the world have been found to significantly outlive men.
Eurostat’s analysis, looking at a three-year period between 2015 and 2017, showed the life expectancy of a newborn male across the EU was 78.1 years but women tended to live 5.4 years more than that.
Marmot said the gender life expectancy gap was so common that he believed it could only be explained by a difference in “biological programming”.
“We expect the ratio of men to women to be 100 to 105 and when we don’t see that, there is trouble,” Marmot said, adding that deviations from that norm could usually be explained by high childbirth mortality levels and mistreatment of women or war and systemic ill health among men.
The lowest male life expectancy in the EU was recorded by Eurostat in a region of central and western Lithuania, where men on average died at the age of 69.7.
Women can expect to live over 10 years more than their male counterparts in two regions of the country: Sostinės and Vidurio ir vakarų Lietuvos – the largest gap between the sexes recorded.
According to the latest World Health Organization data, Lithuanians are the world’s heaviest drinkers.
The shortest life expectancy for males in the UK was found in a statistical area of west central Scotland, where men die on average at the age of 75.5, compared to 80 for women in the same area.
The narrowest gap between the sexes in the EU was found in Mayotte, a French archipelago in the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and Mozambique. Women in Mayotte live just 1.1 years longer then men.
A small gender gap of 2.8 years was also found in the central Dutch region of Flevoland. A gap of three to 3.2 years was recorded in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, Cheshire, and Essex and the Dutch regions of Utrecht, Overijssel, Gelderland, Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland.
Last year a statistical analysis of life expectancy in England and Wales suggested males might expect to live as long as women by 2032. Both sexes would share an average life expectancy of 87.5 years, according to the modelling.
British adults’ life expectancy was this year cut by six months in the biggest reduction in official longevity forecasts.
Public health experts have blamed the impact of austerity. Marmot said he would be publishing a major report in February 2020 on the causes of faltering life expectancy.