Life expectancy at birth, UK, from period life tables, 1980-82 to 2005-07
Life expectancy at birth in the UK has reached its highest level on record for both males and females. A newborn baby boy could expect to live 77.2 years and a newborn baby girl 81.5 years if mortality rates remain the same as they were in 200507.
Females continue to live longer than males, but the gap has been closing. Although both sexes have shown annual improvements in life expectancy at birth, over the past 25 years the gap has narrowed from 6.0 years to 4.3 years. Based on mortality rates in 198082, 26 per cent of newborn males would die before age 65, but this had reduced to 16 per cent based on 200507 rates. The equivalent figures for newborn females were 16 per cent in 198082 and 10 per cent in 200507.
Life expectancy at age 65 the number of further years someone reaching 65 in 200507 could expect to live is also higher for women than for men. Based on 200507 mortality rates, a man aged 65 could expect to live another 17.2 years, and a woman aged 65 another 19.9 years.
Within the UK, life expectancy varies by country. England has the highest life expectancy at birth, 77.5 years for males and 81.7 years for females, while Scotland has the lowest, 74.8 years for males and 79.7 years for females. Life expectancy at age 65 is also higher for England than for the other countries of the UK.
The life expectancy figures above make no allowance for future changes in mortality. Taking into account the continued improvements in mortality assumed in the 2006-based principal population projections, life expectancy at birth for those born in 2006 is projected to be 88.1 years for males and 91.5 years for females. Similarly, life expectancy for those aged 65 in 2006 is projected to be 20.6 years for males and 23.1 years for females. It is also projected that a male born in the UK in 2006 would have a 91 per cent chance of reaching age 65, and a female a 94 per cent chance.
Source: Office for National Statistics
Notes: With the exception of the projections figures in the final paragraph, all figures are 'period' life expectancies. This is the average number of additional years a person would live if he or she experienced the age-specific mortality rates of the given area and time period for the rest of their life. Therefore it is not the number of years someone in the area in that time period is actually likely to live, both because the death rates of the area are likely to change and because people may live in other areas for at least part of their lives. Life expectancies that allow for actual or projected changes in mortality during a persons lifetime are known as 'cohort' life expectancies.
The period life expectancy figures are taken from the Interim Life Tables. These are produced annually for the UK and its constituent countries. Each table is based on the population estimates and deaths for a period of three consecutive years.