Posted on July 29, 2021

White People Have the Lowest Life Expectancy of Any Ethnic Group in England and Wales

Emily Craig, Daily Mail, July 26, 2021

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.

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.

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 higher proportion of recent migrants in some ethinc 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 ethic 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 per cent of all male deaths and 53 per cent of all female deaths in England and Wales.

But the proportion of deaths these conditions are responsible for varies between ethic groups, with the figure jumping to 64.7 per cent of all black Caribbean men who died, while it dropped to 55 per cent for the ‘mixed’ ethinc 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 Bangladheshi (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 carribean 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 Banglaseshi groups and bowel cancer posed the greatest risk for whie men and black Carribean women.

White and black Carribean 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 ethinc 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 Carribean men.