Non-Profit Trusted Source of Non-Commercial Health Information
The Original Voice of the American Academy of Anti-Aging, Preventative, and Regenerative Medicine
logo logo
Demographics & Statistics Blood Pressure Cancer Cardio-Vascular

White people have the LOWEST life expectancy of any ethnic group in England and Wales, finds first official report of its kind

1 year ago

8034  0
Posted on Jul 28, 2021, 6 a.m.

  • White people in England and Wales are most likely to die in their early 80s
  • Nine other ethnic groups had higher life expectancy estimates, the ONS found
  • Researchers pin the findings on higher, cancer, smoking and drinking rates 

White people in England and Wales have the lowest life expectancy of any ethnic group, a major report has found.

Caucasians were also more likely to die from cancer than any other groups between 2011 and 2014, according to the first study of its kind by the Office for National Statistics. 

The life expectancy of white female Britons was 83.1 years, while men were expected to live for 79.7 years, the shortest of the ten ethnic groups that were studied.   

Black African women had the longest life expectancy of 88.9 years, followed by Bangladeshi women (87.3). Asian men had the highest life expectancy at 84.5 years. 

Among men, mixed race, white and black Caribbean men had the shortest life expectancy. Among women, mixed, white and black Caribbean people had the shortest life expectancy.

Researchers said higher cancer rates among white people, as well as the increased likelihood of them drinking alcohol and smoking, bumped them down the mortality list. Cancer deaths were lowest among Indian, Pakistani and other Asian groups.    

Low heart disease rates among black people and a higher proportion of recent migrants in some ethnic groups pushed their life expectancy up, as people who migrate tend to be healthier than others, according to the ONS.  

But the experts noted that mortality rates changed significantly during the Covid pandemic, which disproportionately affected black and Asian ethnic groups. 

The ONS used data from the 2011 Census - a self-reported survey of the UK population - as well as 1.3million death registrations from 2011 to 2014 to estimate how long different ethnic groups lived for and their causes of death.

The study aimed to determine and improve health in different ethnic groups and find out where further analysis is needed.

Researchers found white women lived for just 83.1 years, while men lived for 79.7 years - the shortest of the 10 ethnic groups studied.

Asian groups had the highest life expectancy - 86.9 years for women and 84.5 years for men - followed by Bangladeshi people (87.3 and 81.1), black Africans (88.9 and 83.8) and black Caribbeans (84.6 and 80.7).

This was followed by other black groups (86.8 and 82), Indian people (85.4 and 82.3), mixed-race people (83.1 and 79.3).

Men in ‘other’ groups - which the ONS said includes Arab and Chinese people - were predicted to live to 86.9 years, while women for 84 years. Pakistani individuals had the second-worst mortality rates, with males living to 84.8 and women to 82.3.

Researchers concluded cancer and heart disease are the biggest killers, together accounting for 61 percent of all male deaths and 53 percent of all female deaths in England and Wales.

But the proportion of deaths these conditions are responsible for varies between ethnic groups, with the figure jumping to 64.7 percent of all black Caribbean men who died, while it dropped to 55 percent for the ‘mixed’ ethnic group.

White men had the highest chance of dying from cancer, with 382 per 100,000 dying from the disease.

Meanwhile, men in the ‘Asian other’ category had half the risk of dying from cancer, with it killing just 175 men per 100,000.

Among women, white females were most likely to die of cancer (265), followed by mixed-race (243), while Indian women were the least affected (144).

Heart disease and other illnesses related to blood vessels - like blood clots - was most likely to kill Bangladeshi (451), mixed-race (393) and Indian (381) men and Pakistani (276), mixed-race (270) and Indian (266) women. 

Brain disease was most likely to kill Bangladeshi men and women, compared to all other groups.

Black Caribbean and ‘black other’ ethnic groups were the most at risk of dying from hypertensive disease, which are disorders linked with high blood pressure.

Deaths from diabetes were lowest in white people, but the condition was most likely to kill Bangladeshi and Pakistani people.

Meanwhile, lung cancer was most likely to kill white, mixed and Bangladeshi groups and bowel cancer posed the greatest risk for white men and black Caribbean women.

White and black Caribbean women were most at risk from breast cancer, while prostate cancer was most likely to kill black Caribbean and black African men.

The ONS noted that its life expectancy findings are higher than data it previously published, so it may have slightly overestimated its figures.

Julie Stanborough, deputy director of health analysis and life events at the ONS, said: ‘Further research is required to investigate the reasons for the differences.

‘However, these results reveal important patterns in life expectancy and mortality by ethnic group which are complex, but nevertheless consistent with most previous studies.’

Potential explanations for differences could be past migration patterns, the socioeconomic composition of the groups, health-related behaviours and clinical and biological factors.

The ONS said black African and ‘Asian other’ groups likely had the highest life expectancy because they contain the highest proportion of more recent migrants. Previous studies found that migrants are healthier than other groups, it said.

Asian and black people are less likely to engage in harmful behaviours like smoking and drinking alcohol, the ONS said.

Previous research by Public Health England found Bangladeshi, Pakastani and black ethnic groups are more likely to live in deprived areas, which likely brings down their life expectancy.

The relationship between deprivation and health is ‘well established, but more research is needed on how this relationship applies to different ethnic groups, the ONS said.

Researchers noted that the coronavirus pandemic contrasted with its mortality findings for other causes, as the virus has killed more Bangladeshi and Pakistani people, as well as black Caribbean men.


Covid has slashed life expectancy by a 'jaw-dropping' three YEARS in the North West of England after the region suffered the highest death rate in the country.

High Covid death rates in the North West have caused the life expectancy of men and women in the region to decline by a combined 2.8 years, a study has found.

A report published last month by the University College London found a high Covid mortality rate and deprivation contributed to a decline in life expectancy in the North West region, which was larger than the average in England.

Life expectancy dropped across England last year by an average of 1.3 years for men and 0.9 years for women, but it decreased even more in the North West, where it fell by 1.6 years for men and 1.2 years for women. 

The report also found that people in Manchester were 24 percent more likely to die from Covid than the rest of England.

Researchers calculated that 307 men and 195 women per 100,000 in Greater Manchester died from Covid between March 2020 and April 2021.

This was higher than the rest of England where 233.1 men and 142 women per 100,000 died from the virus in the same period.

Professor Sir Michael Marmot, director of the IHE, said the figures are 'jaw-dropping'.

The area's high death rates and 'particularly damaging long-term economic and social effects will damage health and widen health inequalities unless action is taken, he said.

His report proposes that the government should invest in jobs, housing, local services and education to tackle these long-term problems. 

This article was written by Emily Craig who is a health reporter for Mailonline. 

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before making any changes to your wellness routine

Content may be edited for style and length.

Materials provided by:

WorldHealth Videos