People living in deprived areas die sooner

By June Shannon Policy News   |   5th Jul 2019

CSO data shows how social status, level of education and disability can shorten your life

People living in disadvantaged areas will die sooner than those living in more affluent areas, showing once again the negative impact poverty can have on your health.

The CSO recently released a new Research Paper entitled ‘Mortality Differentials in Ireland 2016-2017’, which looked at life expectancy or the length of time a person is expected to live, depending on a number of factors such as, their address, marital status and level of education.

According to the research paper, which is based on the census characteristics of people who died in the twelve-month period after Census Day 24 April 2016, people who live in the most affluent areas of the country live longest, with men expected to live to 84.4 years and women to 87.7 years.

In striking contrast, men in the most deprived areas of Ireland are expected to live to 79.4 years of age while women in these areas had a life expectancy of 83.2 years.

This means that men living in the most deprived areas will die on average five years earlier than those living in the most affluent areas and women will die approximately four years earlier.

Commenting on the research paper, Carol Anne Hennessy, Statistician, said: “Life expectancy varies by area of deprivation (quintiles). In 2016, the number of expected life years at birth was 84.4 and 87.7 years for males and females respectively in the least deprived areas, compared to 79.4 years and 83.2 years for those residing in the most deprived areas.”

The research also showed that women in Ireland are expected to live on average 3.5 years longer than men and that being married was good for your health with married people expected to have a longer life than those who remain single.

“Reducing cardiovascular health inequality is the overarching strategic priority of our new Irish Heart Foundation strategy,"

Mr Tim Collins, CEO , Irish Heart Foundation

The CSO data also found that the higher the level of education, the lower the mortality or death rate.

For example, it found that those that stopped full-time education at primary level had a standardised mortality or death rate of 1,195 per 100,000 persons compared to 619 per 100,000 for those that ceased education at third level.

The CSO research paper further revealed that life expectancy was also influenced by disability with people living with a disability expected to live much shorter lives. For example, it stated that a 35-year-old male with a disability was expected to live a further 39.7 years compared to 53.4 years for a 35-year-old man without a disability.

Commenting on the findings the CEO of the Irish Heart Foundation, Mr Tim Collins said, “Reducing cardiovascular health inequality is the overarching strategic priority of our new Irish Heart Foundaiton Strategy. In 2010 Michael Marmot wrote “the link between social conditions and health is not a footnote to the real concerns with health – health care and unhealthy behaviours – it should become the main focus”. This necessarily moves the debate beyond a narrow focus on health to a broader consideration of how we tackle inequality across our society and poses significant challenges for all health care organisations including our own.”

Overall life expectancy at birth in the EU-28 was estimated at 81.0 years in 2016, reaching 83.6 years for women and 78.2 years for men.

The CSO noted that “particular caution must be applied in interpreting these statistics due to the limitations of the matching exercise. A detailed summary of the matching methodology in this report, as well as a note on the limitations, is included in the Research Paper.”

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Related Topics

cardiovascular diease deprivation health inequality heart health inequity poverty social deprivation

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