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American life expectancy is falling—and Britain could be heading down the same path

For a hundred years, life expectancy grew. Now, rising health inequality could change that

By Michael Marmot   April 2018

Britain in 2011 was a better place to live than Britain in 1921. We know this because people, on average, live much longer now. In 1921, men in England and Wales had a life expectancy of 56 years and women of 60 years. Ninety years on the figures were 79 and 83 years for men and women respectively—a 23 year improvement in only 90 years; one year extra in lifespan for every four years that passed. It’s not that staying alive is everything—although it is a rather important precondition to doing anything…

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