Life Expectancy: Is the Socio-Economic Gap Narrowing?

The Longevity Science Panel has reviewed mortality trends of people between different socio-economic circumstances and gender in England, concluding that the socio-economic gap in mortality at older ages has persisted and widened between 2001 and 2015. This finding is in agreement with the Panel’s previous report, which proposed that the powerful forces of socio-economic and behavioural factors that divide people would lead to a continuing gap in the mortality rates and life expectancy of people in different socio-economic groups.  Based on the emerging evidence, the Panel recommends that socio-economic circumstances of the elderly should be considered when forecasting future life expectancy or mortality trends for the purposes of public policy and commercial decisions for the UK’s rapidly ageing population.

It is being published because the Panel is keen to share its conclusions with others and to support the continuing debate about the many implications of changing demographics. In addition, the Panel is very keen to hear from others working on any related research which can aid understanding and be recognised in our future work. Please email us at if you wish to do so. Unfortunately we are not able to respond to every comment.

Click to access the press release Widening rich-poor mortality gap in England (PDF: 377KB)   

Click to access the paper Life expectancy: Is the socio-economic gap narrowing? (PDF: 888KB)  

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"If there is a continued sharp improvement in longevity, it will open up all sorts of public issues."