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Improvements in life expectancy ‘stall’ in Scotland

Soaring rates of drug deaths and heart disease to blame

A boy born in 2018 in one of the 10% most deprived areas of Scotland will live for 13 years less than a boy from the most affluent areas, official figures show.

Data published by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) show that while the country continues to have the lowest life expectancy in the UK – as it has done since the early 1980s – the latest figures suggest that recent improvements have stalled.

It is thought that soaring rates of drug deaths and heart disease are to blame.

The NRS’s Annual Review of Demographic Trends also shows that while the mid-2018 population of Scotland had reached a new high – for the ninth consecutive year – of an estimated 5,438,100, the country’s birth rate is now the lowest of all UK countries and falling at the fastest rate, the Guardian reports.

Girls born between 2015 and 2017 in the 10% most deprived areas in Scotland can expect to live 9.6 years less than those who live in the 10% least deprived areas.

Women living in the 10% least deprived areas can expect to spend 23 more years in good health than those in the 10% most deprived areas. For men, the difference in healthy life expectancy is 22.5 years.

The head of public health at NHS Scotland, Gerry McCartney, said: “The circumstances in which we live should not impact on health so much that the right to live a long and healthy life is compromised by how much money we have.”

Migration continues to be the main driver of Scotland’s population growth, although net migration has decreased over the past two years.