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Life Expectancy and Mortality in Wales report published

The Public Health Wales Observatory has published its latest report Life Expectancy and Mortality in Wales 2020, which describes the stalling in life expectancy and mortality improvements in Wales in recent times. 

Life expectancy in Wales has shown little improvement since 2011 for both males and females, compared to the period preceding this where there were increases of 2.6 years and 2 years respectively.

Similarly, mortality rates in Wales have shown little change since 2011, having decreased by almost 20 per cent between 2002 and 2011. There are also signs that the gap in mortality rates between the most and least deprived areas in Wales has widened in recent years.

Life expectancy decomposition analysis highlights how the age groups and different causes of death have contributed to the stagnation in improvement. 

For both males and females, there has been a considerable slowdown in improvements in circulatory disease mortality rates, with significant increases in mortality rates from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, mortality rates in both males and females aged 60-84 years are no longer in sharp decline. In some instances they have started to increase.

This phenomenon has been seen in other countries, and is a marked change to the steady increase in life expectancy seen since the Second World War.

Dr Kirsty Little, Consultant, Public Health Wales, said: 

“This publication highlights an important shift in life expectancy and mortality trends in recent times. Life expectancy is an important indication of the overall health status of a population. Worryingly, the publication also indicates that health inequalities may have increased in recent times too.

“There are likely to be a number of important factors at play and explaining the recent trends will prove complicated. The period of austerity since 2010/11 may be implicated, and as Sir Michael Marmot’s recent review highlighted, a link between austerity and worsening health and health inequalities is “entirely plausible”. We are committed to working alongside UK and international partners both to monitor the ongoing trends, and to further explore and clarify factors that may be driving the changes we have highlighted.”

The report can be viewed at the Public Health Wales Observatory page:

Life Expectancy and Mortality in Wales 2020