A new study has revealed the alarming numbers of young adult deaths in the north of England, with the gap between regions growing.
In comparison to the south, researchers state that the north has seen around 1.2 million more people die before they’ve reached 75, taking population differences into account.
They also warn of the widening of this gap, with the deaths of young adults and those nearing middle age seeing “alarming growth” over recent years.
Commenting on the data’s findings was Iain Buchan. The co-author of the study stated that whilst the exact cause of the trend is unknown, the results indicate the need for further investment policies in the north of England.
“There is higher attainable health in the north, as shown by the higher attained health in the south – therefore invest in the north.”
The study was built on past work by the group, having analysed trends between 1965 and 2008. Conducted by Buchan and other colleagues at the University of Manchester and the University of York, the newest study included data up to 2015, encompassing the most recent recession and the aftermath.
Trend results were regionally split in order to compare the northern statistics to the south and then combined with Office for National Statistics data. This enabled researchers to bring together and analyse regional population estimates with the death statistics.
Generally speaking, the latter half of the 20th century saw a fall in premature deaths for both the north and the south. Since the start of 2010, however, the new study indicated that this fall seems to be levelling off, corresponding with the stall in life expectancy rate growth.
As well as age, the study also looked at gender and population size, with the detail revealing the significant gap between the regions when it came to young adult deaths.
In 1995, the difference in young adult deaths (those aged 25-34) between the north and south was 2.2%. In 2015, this difference had grown to 29.3%.
The gap is even more significant for those aged between 35-44. Whilst in 1995 the difference between the north and south was 3.3%, it was recorded at 50% in 2015.
Whilst the research did not indicate that recession had impacted the trends in an explicit way, Buchan drew attention to the need for investment in the north.
He highlighted that although education might be important to an extent, it would be unable to deal with “the root cause of the social and economic environment”.
This view was echoed by Sir Michael Marmot, who stated that additional research had also indicated a link between death and low socio-economic status. The professor of epidemiology at University College London went on to highlight his own review from 2010, which set out a plan to tackle inequality. It included measures such as improved working conditions, better education, as well as focusing on early child development.