Average life expectancy for men and women across Luton will rise sharply by 2030, a new study has found.
The study, based on Office for National Statistics data combined with advanced mathematical modelling, suggests the average life expectancy for women in the town will rise from 83.7 this year to 86.7 in 15 years’ time.
For men, it is predicted to increase from 79.4 – one of the lowest life expectancy rates in the South Midlands currently – to 84.3 over the same period. Despite the increase in life expectancy, both predictions are below the national average rises from 83.3 to 87.6 for women and 79.5 to 85.7 for men.
Lead scientist Professor Majid Ezzati, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said the results will have an impact on the economy.
He said: “The bigger gains in life expectancy we predict will mean pensions will have larger payouts, and health and social services will have to serve an older population than currently planned.”
The research, published in The Lancet medical journal, drew on death rate and population data for 375 local authority districts in England and Wales dating back to the 1980s.
We also forecast rising inequalities, with bigger increases in lifespan for people in affluent areas than those in disadvantaged areas.Lead scientist Professor Majid Ezzati, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London
Five mathematical models were constructed whose accuracy was tested by seeing how well they predicted actual life expectancy trends from 2002 to 2012. The best model was then used to make forecasts to 2030.
“Our methods better reflect how longevity is changing than those currently used, and our forecasts are more accurate,” said Prof Ezzati.
But the upward trend masks significant regional differences, research shows.
By 2030, people in affluent southern England and well-off districts of London are expected to be living more than eight years longer than those in northern urban centres such as Blackpool, Liverpool and Manchester, as well as South Wales.
Prof Ezzati added: “We also forecast rising inequalities, with bigger increases in lifespan for people in affluent areas than those in disadvantaged areas.
“This means wealthy people will benefit more from health and social services than poor people, and therefore should be prepared to pay its costs through higher taxes.”