SDLP West Belfast representative Paul Doherty has called for a strategy to address the discrepancy in life expectancy between those living in Belfast and the rest of the North.
Figures from NISRA’s Life Expectancy in NI 2018-20 report show that despite the North having an average life expectancy of 78.7 years for men and 82.4 years for women, the life expectancy in the Belfast council area is lowest for both in the North, with a life expectancy of just 75.8 years for men and 80.5 years for women.
Derry and Strabane has the second lowest, with 78 for men and 81.6 for women. Lisburn and Castlereagh has the highest life expectancies with 80.3 for men and 83.3 for women.
Mr Doherty said:
“It’s extremely disheartening that every time we see these statistics published Belfast ranks rock bottom in life expectancy for both men and women. It’s stark that men living in Belfast can expect to live nearly three years less than the average person in the North, with nearly two years less life expectancy for women.
“It’s incredible that a man living on the Falls Road has a life expectancy of nearly five years less than someone living in Lisburn, less than ten miles away. The reasons for this are well trodden, people living in areas with higher rates of poverty, unemployment, pollution and a lack of investment are more likely to take part in unhealthy behaviours and suffer from health issues than lose living in more affluent areas.
“Despite life expectancy in Belfast being a chronic issue for a number of years, there has been no attempt by our Executive to address the issues impacting people here. Our whole city is affected, but especially people in west and north Belfast who experience some of the highest levels of poverty anywhere on these islands.
“The DUP and Sinn Féin have been leading our Executive for the past 15 years and they have done nothing to improve the life expectancy of people living in some of the poorest communities across the North. I know first-hand how badly people are currently struggling and the support just isn’t there. We need to an urgent strategy to deal with these long-standing issues and ensure that people right across the North are given the chance to live long, happy, healthy and prosperous lives.”