Data finds seaside town with the lowest life expectancy in England
Summer is synonymous with escapes to the English seaside, but coastal towns are some of the most deprived places in the country.
Located on the northwest coast of England, Blackpool is one of these towns.
There is a huge health disparity hiding behind the picturesque seafront and family-friendly attractions.
Blackpool’s citizens have the lowest life expectancy from birth of any local authority in England, according to the data from the Office for National Statistics.
The official figures from 2018-2020 show that life expectancy for men in Blackpool is 74.1 years and for women is 79, both lower than national averages.
Blackpool’s life expectancy figures don’t only point to a stark difference when compared to the rest of the England, but also when you look at the town itself.
Men in the least deprived areas of the seaside town can expect to live 13.2 years longer than men in the most deprived areas. Similarly, for women this difference is 9.5 years.
Furthermore, people in Blackpool don’t only live shorter, but their lives are often affected by ill health and disability.
While figures for life expectancy estimate how many years a person might be expected to live, healthy life expectancy describes how many years they might live in good health.
The town’s healthy life expectancy for both men and women in the country is the lowest of all local authorities in England.
According to the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, some of the major health culprits that contribute to the gap in life expectancy are circulatory diseases, cancer, digestive diseases and external causes (deaths from injuries, poisonings, and suicide).
Blackpool Council Director of Public Health, Dr Arif Rajpura, explained that there are “multiple aspects that contribute” towards this disparity, including, drug and alcohol abuse, low wages, poor housing and deprivation, as well as poor educational attainment.
Dr Rajpura said: “A huge number of factors influence how healthy the population is, from the strength of the local economy, housing and education to levels of smoking, substance misuse, diet and access to health services and over the past decade, significant cuts have been made when it comes to local authority funding, making it hard for us to narrow the inequality gap.
“It has been cited that coastal communities have often been overlooked by governments and the ill-health hidden because their outcomes are merged with wealthier inland areas.
“A report from 2021 showed that despite the significant efforts of local leaders, coastal communities continue to have a high burden of health challenges across a range of physical and mental health conditions, often with lower life expectancy and higher rates of many major diseases.
“In Blackpool, we are constantly taking steps to drive economic regeneration, creating more jobs and making Blackpool a better place to live and work.”