Life expectancy & mortality

Life expectancy at birth, and deaths from all causes, give the highest level indication of the general health and wellbeing of a population.

Mortality rates, or rates of deaths, can be calculated in a number of ways; all-cause mortality shows the total number of deaths in a population from all causes in a given duration, preventable mortality shows the deaths in under 75s from conditions that are preventable, and premature deaths shows deaths in those aged under 75.

Number of deaths is influenced by the age and gender of the population, that is to say for an older population that is mostly male we would expect a different rate of deaths than for a younger population that is mostly female. Therefore these factors need to be taken into account when comparing death rates. This is achieved through a process called standardisation and allows for a more direct comparison between areas which have different population structures.

Mortality rates

All age deaths for both males and females are reducing over time. Although gradually reducing over time, the mortality rate in Slough is still higher than the national average as well as the South East average.

Preventable deaths are defined as deaths from diseases that could have been prevented, in those aged under 75. For males in Slough the rates of preventable deaths are similar to the national average though are worse than in the South East (Figure 1). For females in Slough, however, the rate of preventable deaths is higher both than the national average and the South East average (Figure 2).

Figure 1. Preventable deaths in males (standardised rate per 100,000)

Graph to show all cause mortality for females 1993 to 2010. Source: Health and Social Care Information Centre

Source: Health and Social Care Information Centre.

Figure 2: Preventable deaths in females (standardised rate per 100,000)

Graph to show all cause mortality for males 1993 to 2010. Source: Health and Social Care Information Centre

Source: Health and Social Care Information Centre.

While total death rates do give an indication of the health and wellbeing of a population, deaths in younger people or “premature deaths” are an even more sensitive measure of population health. For the purposes of statistical analyses premature deaths are considered as deaths in those under the age of 75.

Slough has, on average, the 5th highest premature mortality rate in the South East region though this varies significantly across the borough. The highest rates of premature mortality are seen in the ward of Britwell and Northborough, and the lowest in Upton ward (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Premature deaths in all people (2010-2014) according to Slough ward

Graph to show all cause mortality for females aged under 75 (1993 to 2010). Source: Health and Social Care Information Centre

Source: Health and Social Care Information Centre.

Life expectancy

The total number of deaths in an area can be used to calculate how many years, on average, a person will live from birth. Males and females are living for longer.

Males born in Slough between 2012 and 2014 are expected to live on average until age 78.6, this is lower than the national average of 79.5. Females in Slough are expected to live until age 82.9 which is similar to the national average life expectancy of 83.2 (Figure 4 Figure 5).

Figure 4: Female life expectancy at birth (2002 to 2013)

Graph to show all cause mortality for males aged under 75 (1993 to 2010). Source: Health and Social Care Information Centre

Source: Health and Social Care Information Centre

Figure 5: Male life expectancy at birth (2002 to 2013)

Graph to show female life expectancy at birth (1993 to 2010). Source: Health and Social Care Information Centre
 

Source: Health and Social Care Information Centre.

The main causes of death in Slough between 2012 and 2014 were diseases of the circulatory system (28.6%), cancers (26.8%), and respiratory diseases (28.6%).

What is this telling us?

Life expectancy in Slough is increasing in line with the national rate. However, there are variations between wards in Slough and between different socio-economic groups within the town.

While total life expectancy has increased, healthy life expectancy is in fact reducing. This means that though residents of Slough are living for longer, they are spending more of their life in ill-health.

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