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    Recession, Austerity and Life Expectancy

    Dorling, Danny and Rigby, Jan (2018) Recession, Austerity and Life Expectancy. Irish Medical Journal (P876). ISSN 0790-2905

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    For many decades, in affluent countries life expectancies have been improving approximately 2 years every decade1. Life expectancies for females remain higher than for males, although explanations remain unresolved2,3. In the UK improvements in life expectancy at birth have slowed since 20104. Most recently, life expectancy in some areas of England has fallen by more than one year since 20115. This is an extraordinary reversal. There was a corresponding slowing in life expectancy remaining from age 65, from increasing 1 year every 6 years for women to 1 every 16 years, and for men from 1 year every 5 years down to 1 year for every 9 years4. In Ireland, life expectancy at 65 has continued to increase, but has slowed substantially from a gain of 3 years between 1995 and 2005 to 1.9 years between 2005 and 2015 (for men) and from 2.6 years down to 1.2 years for women6. Full European figures for life expectancy for 2016 are yet to be released. However, in the USA, life expectancy has now been falling for at least two years7. This short paper examines recent trajectories of life expectancies across Europe following the recent global recession, and through the implementation of greatly varying national ‘austerity’ policies, particularly where those cut public sector expenditure. Recession and austerity could be predicted to impact most heavily on the most vulnerable, particularly if health and/or social care budgets were affected (as in the UK). Socioeconomic inequalities in mortality in Europe8 suggested between-country variation was partly attributable to smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity and poverty. Ireland was not included in this study, but has relatively high rates of these risk factors9.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: recession; austerity; life expectancy;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Research Institutes > National Centre for Geocomputation, NCG
    Item ID: 10584
    Depositing User: Jan Rigby
    Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2019 15:45
    Journal or Publication Title: Irish Medical Journal
    Publisher: Irish Medical Organisation
    Refereed: Yes
    Use License: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA).Details of this licence are available here

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