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Health Inequalities - Life expectancy Decomposition 2019


Department of Health Northern Ireland

Subject Keywords: Mortality, Mental disorders, Behavioural disorders, Deprivation
Catalogue: Research and Evaluation
Type: Report
Region: Northern Ireland

This publication is one of a series of reports produced as part of the NI Health & Social Care Inequalities Monitoring System (HSCIMS).

This report explores the extent to which mortality within certain age groups and causes of death contribute to variations in life expectancy between time periods, genders, deprivation levels, and urban and rural areas in Northern Ireland.


  • Over the last five years, life expectancy has increased by 0.5 years for males and remained the same for females, standing at 78.5 years for males and 82.3 years for females in 2015-17.
  • Reduced mortality for a number of causes added 0.8 years (half of which can be attributed to circulatory disease) to male life expectancy. This was offset by 0.3 years due to a rise in mortality for a range of causes.
  • Decreased mortality rates among 50-89 year olds contributed to the majority of the increase in male life expectancy.
  • Any increase in female life expectancy over the period was negated by increased mortality for a range of causes, a third of which was attributable to mental and behavioural disorders; mainly vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Increases in mortality for females aged under 40 was largely offset by a reduction in deaths among older age groups, with the exclusion of those aged 60-69 and 90 and over.

Gender Gap

  • Males born in 2015-17 could expect to live 3.9 years fewer than their female counterparts.
  • Higher male mortality from cancers and circulatory disease accounted for 1.4 years and 1.2 years of the gap respectively.
  • Suicide was also much higher among males and contributed a further 0.6 years towards the gender gap.



Rights: © Public
Suggested citation:

Department of Health Northern Ireland. (2019) Health Inequalities - Life expectancy Decomposition 2019 [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 24th February 2020].


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Department of Health (Northern Ireland)
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