Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Findings: Higher Life Expectancy For UK Black Groups

People from white and mixed ethnic groups had lower life expectancy compared with Black and Asian groups in England and Wales between 2011 and 2014, according to analysis by the Office for National Statistics(ONS).

The study linked 2011 census and death registration data to produce estimates of life expectancy and cause of death by ethnic group.

White and mixed ethnic women had a life expectancy of 83.1 years, while for Black African women the figure was 88.9. White and mixed ethnic men had life expectancies of 79.7 and 79.3 years respectively, while the figure for those in the “Asian other” group – Asian, but not Indian or Bangladeshi or Chinese - was 84.5, and for Black African men 83.8.

Dr Veena Raleigh, a senior fellow at the King’s Fund thinktank, said the ONS analysis was robust and consistent with previous research. Academics and commentators often say ethnic minorities have the worst health outcomes, she said, “but that’s not always supported by the evidence”.

One key reason for higher life expectancy among ethnic minorities is the so-called “healthy migrant effect”. There is evidence that migrants tend to be healthier, with lower levels of smoking, alcohol consumption and other risk factors, she said, noting that this effect wanes over time as the following generations generally assume similar lifestyles to native populations.

There are, however, specific diseases that tend to disproportionately afflict certain groups. Mortality driven by heart disease is significantly higher in people of Asian ethnicity, while there are significantly higher rates of cancer in white people compared with Black and Asian ethnic groups.

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