Unfortunately, your browser is too old to work on this website. Please upgrade your browser
Skip to main content

Key points

  • Female life expectancy in the UK overall was 83.1 years in 2018, below the OECD average of 83.4 years. This puts the UK 25th out of 38 OECD countries.
  • Female life expectancy at birth in England in 2017–19 (the time period where data are available) for the 10% most deprived local areas was 78.7 years. Compared to life expectancy overall in OECD countries in 2018 (the mid-point year), only Mexico is lower at 77.9 years.
  • Female life expectancy at birth in England in 2017–19 for the 10% least deprived local areas was 86.4 years. Compared to life expectancy overall in OECD countries in 2018 (the mid-point year), only Japan is higher at 87.3 years.
  • Our analysis illustrates the range and level of female life expectancy at birth between areas within England by comparing to the range and level of female life expectancy at birth between whole countries. It does not compare inequality within England to inequalities within other countries.

This chart shows life expectancy for females in selected countries where data is available from members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It uses period life expectancy at birth, which is defined as the number of years that a newborn can be expected to live, if age-specific mortality rates from the period of the life expectancy estimate do not change for the rest of their lives.

The chart also compares these country-level averages to period life expectancy at birth for females in the 10% most and least deprived local areas of England. 

It shows that: 

  • Female life expectancy in the UK overall was 83.1 years in 2018, below the OECD average of 83.4 years. This puts the UK 25th out of 38 OECD countries.
  • Life expectancy data by deprivation is not available for the UK as a whole. In 2017–2019 (the time period where data are available) female life expectancy at birth in England was 83.2 years, with a gap of 7.7 years between the most and least deprived areas.
  • Female life expectancy at birth in England in 2017–19 for the 10% most deprived local areas was 78.7 years. Compared to life expectancy overall in OECD countries in 2018 (the mid-point year), only Mexico was lower at 77.9 years.
  • Female life expectancy at birth in England in 2017–19 for the 10% least deprived local areas was 86.4 years. Compared to life expectancy overall in OECD countries in 2018 (the mid-point year), only Japan was higher at 87.3 years.

There is room for improvement in the UK, as life expectancy is relatively low compared to other countries. People’s health and life expectancy are influenced over their lifetime by the factors that shape their opportunity to stay well: the social, economic, commercial, and environmental conditions in which people live. Improving health and reducing inequalities requires action to be taken by the whole of government, not just the Department of Health and Social Care and the NHS, as well as the involvement of business and other organisations.

  • Life expectancy at birth estimates for OECD countries are for 2018, the mid-year of the three-year average (2017–19) used for deprivation deciles in England. 

  • England country-level data for 2018 is included in the country rankings for comparability reasons but is not a separate OECD member from the UK. 

  • Data for OECD countries reflect on average how long someone born in the year 2018 would be expected to live for if age-specific mortality rates for the area and time stayed the same.   

  • Data for deprivation deciles in England reflect on average how long someone born in the year 2017-2019 would be expected to live for if age-specific mortality rates for the area and time stayed the same. 

  • For comparability we have chosen the mid-point year (2018) for OECD countries of the three year average (2017–19) used for England.  

Further reading

Explore the topics

Local authority dashboard
Explore data for your local authority and neighbourhood

Health inequalities

Money and resources
Poverty | Income | Debt

Work
Quality | Unemployment | Security

Housing
Affordability | Quality | Stability | Security

Transport
Active travel | Social exclusion | Trends

Family, friends and community
Personal relationships | Community cohesion

This is part of Evidence hub: What drives health inequalities?

Data, insights and analysis exploring how the circumstances in which we live shape our health
Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy

Get social

Follow us on Twitter
Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more