Health in the UK: Statistics and facts for 2024

How healthy is the UK? We dive into all the latest stats to give you the figures on life expectancy, smoking, obesity and more.

Health is a topic that’s always on the news in the UK, whether about the current status of the NHS, how healthy the nation is or the latest medical breakthroughs. We gave the UK a health check by diving into the latest statistics on obesity, life expectancy, smoking and more. See all the statistics below or learn more about private health insurance.

Health statistics UK: Highlights

  • The average life expectancy in the UK is 82.6 years for women and 78.6 years for men.
  • On average, 1,597 people died every day in England and Wales in 2023.
  • The top cause of death in the UK is dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Around 1 in 8 adults in the UK are smokers (12.9%).
  • Around a quarter of adults in England (26%) are classified as obese.
  • Spending on healthcare in the UK was £280.7 billion in 2021, which is £4,188 per person.

What is the average life expectancy in the UK?

The average life expectancy in the UK between 2020 and 2022 was 78.6 years for men and 82.6 for women. This number decreased from 2017 to 2019, when the average life expectancy for men was 79.3 years and 83 years for women.

How many people die in the UK each day?

On average, 1,597 people died per day in England and Wales in 2023, which is 11,180 over the average week. The highest average deaths per day in 2023 happened in the second week of January, with 2,483. In total, there were 581,346 registered deaths in 2023.

In 2024, there have been 145,704 registered deaths up until 22 March 2024. This is an average of 12,142 a week or 1,735 a day.

Number of deaths in England and Wales

What percentage of Brits smoke?

Around 1 in 8 adults in the UK (12.9%) smoke cigarettes as of 2022 – this equates to around 6.4 million people. This is the lowest proportion of smokers since records began in 2011. A higher proportion of men are smokers (14.6%) compared to women (11.2%).

The age group most likely to smoke is 25- to 34-year-olds, as 1 in 6 (16.3%) were smokers in 2022. They are followed by 35- to 44-year-olds (14.5%) and 45- to 54-year-olds (14.3%).

Number of smokers in the UK
Age group Smokers Non-smokers
18-24 11.60% 88.40%
25-34 16.30% 83.70%
35-44 14.50% 85.50%
45-54 14.30% 85.70%
55-64 13.60% 86.40%
65+ 8.30% 91.70%

What are the top causes of death in the UK?

The top cause of death in England and Wales in 2022 was dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, accounting for 65,967 deaths (11.5%). This was followed by ischaemic heart diseases, also known as coronary heart disease (10.3%), and chronic lower respiratory diseases (5.2%). COVID-19 was the fifth most common cause of death in 2022, accounting for 22,445 deaths (3.9%).

Top causes of death England and Wales
Cause of death Number of deaths Percentage of deaths
Dementia and Alzheimers disease 65,967 11.5%
Ischaemic heart diseases 59,356 10.3%
Chronic lower respiratory diseases 29,815 5.2%
Cerebrovascular diseases 29,265 5.1%
Malignant neoplasm of trachea, bronchus and lung 28,570 5.0%
COVID-19 22,445 3.9%

What percentage of the UK is obese?

A quarter of adults in England (26%) are classified as obese according to the latest statistics, which means they have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above. A further 2 in 5 adults in the UK (38%) are overweight but not obese. This means a total of around two-thirds of adults in the UK (64%) are either overweight or obese.

How much is spent on healthcare in the UK?

In 2021, total spending on healthcare in the UK was £280.7 billion, which equals £4,188 per person. This includes both government and non-government spending. Government spending on healthcare made up the majority of this expenditure (83%) at £233.1 billion.

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact –

Matt Mckenna
UK Head of Communications
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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Danny is a publisher at Finder specialising in insurance and investing. He previously worked at the global insurer Aon and has appeared in national media giving advice on insurance. Danny holds a BA in International Business from the University of Plymouth and has undying loyalty to his average-poor football team, Portsmouth FC. See full bio

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Sophie Barber is a content marketing manager for Finder in the UK after previously working as a content manager at a digital marketing agency. She has over 5 years experience in writing and publishing clear, concise and informative online articles for a variety of websites. See full bio

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Sophie has written 66 Finder guides across topics including:
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