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Changing trends in UK mortality

According to figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), until 2011, life expectancy in the UK had been increasing for a number of decades; however, in the second decade of the 21st century, the UK along with several other countries has seen a notable slowdown in these improvements in both male and female mortality.

The UK experienced steady increases in life expectancy at birth throughout the 20th century. This was attributed to improvements in treating infectious diseases, health improvements in the population as it aged, advances in medical care such as heart disease treatments, and behavioural changes such as a reduction in the rate of smoking in the population.

In 2015 there was a sharp increase in the number of deaths, which led to the first reduction in UK life expectancy at birth in the 21st century. Between 2011 and 2016, the UK experienced one of the largest slowdowns in improvements in life expectancy at birth and at age 65 years for both males and females, out of the countries analysed.

The slowdown in improvements in mortality was observed most widely for 65-to-79-year-olds across the countries analysed, while females have been more affected overall by the slowdown than males.

Read Office for National Statistics - Changing trends in mortality: an international comparison: 2000 to 2016