Life expectancy increases to 79 for men and 83 for women

The life expectancy of women in the UK has increased from 55 in 1910/1912 to 83 in 2010/12. Photo: PA Wire

The life expectancy of women in the UK has increased from 55 in 1910/1912 to 83 in 2010/12. Photo: PA Wire

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Men can now expect to live until 79 while women can hope to enjoy their 83rd birthday, official figures show.

Over the last 100 years, life expectancy at birth has increased by almost three years per decade, according to an analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Among men, life expectancy at birth increased from 51 in 1910/1912 to 79 in 2010/12 across England and Wales.

Among women, the jump was from 55 to 83 years in the same period.

The ONS said some of the change was due to falling death rates among babies and children over the last 100 years.

Experts have also pointed to the better treatment of illness in old age.

The data showed that people aged 60 could expect to live around nine years longer in 2010/2012 than 100 years earlier.

Andrew Kaye, head of policy and campaigns at Independent Age, the older people’s charity, said the life expectancy of men is catching up with women.

“The country’s ageing population is one of the most important issues facing our society,” he added.

“The current social care system is under enormous strain.

“If we want the UK to be the best place to grow old in, we need an honest debate about what kind of health, social, housing and transport services we want - and how much as a society we are prepared to pay for them.”