Health statistics 2020

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

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Health is a topic that’s always on the news in the UK, whether it is 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 for obesity, life expectancy, alcohol consumption and more. See all the statistics below, skip to a section using the quick links box or learn more about private health insurance.


General health in the UK

  • Life expectancy: 81.15 years on average (2020). Of those babies born in 2018, on average, males can expect to live to 87.6 years and females to 90.2 years.
  • Healthy life expectancy: The age up to which people can expect to live healthily is 63.1 for men and 63.6 for women.
  • UK health spending: £214.4 billion was spent on health care by the government in 2018/2019. This means that £3,227 was spent per person.
  • Fertility rate: The UK’s fertility rate is 1.7, which can be compared to the EU’s average of 1.6. The perfect fertility rate is 2.1, which is when each generation replaces itself.
  • Deaths: During the first 6 months of 2019, there were 270,762 deaths in the UK. This is compared to 2020, which had 333,233 registered deaths, 12% more than in 2019.
  • Alcohol: 57% of adults (aged 16+) in the UK drink alcohol.
  • Smoking: 16.6% of adults (aged 18+) in the UK smoke daily.
  • Obesity: In 2018, 67% of adult males and 60% of adult females were overweight or obese in the UK.

Number of hospital beds

With the number of coronavirus cases increasing fast, there has been a lot of speculation about hospital capacity in the UK. As of 2020, there is an average of 127,708 hospital beds available per night across Britain’s 1,257 hospitals. This means that there is one hospital bed for every 430 Brits, which is 47% fewer beds compared to the year 2000.

Number of hospital beds in the UK

Number of coronavirus cases per country over time

Of the 10 countries that have the most cases of coronavirus, South Korea has the highest proportion of hospital beds, with 11.5 beds per 1,000 citizens. As more people get sick, the strain put on health care systems increases, and countries like Iran and the UK are under pressure due to only having 1.5 and 2.4 hospital beds per 1,000 citizens respectively.

Hospital beds per 1,000 citizens

Even though the number of hospital beds isn’t that high, Brits do seem to have confidence that the NHS will be able to take care of the population in a scenario where the coronavirus outbreak results in a higher need for care.

Confidence in the NHS


Coronavirus statistics (as of July 27)

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has a fatality rate of around 15.25% in the UK and 3.94% globally.
  • This is over 150 times higher than the death rate for the seasonal flu, which has a fatality rate of 0.1% on average.
  • The fatality rate for COVID-19 goes up to as much as 15% for people over the age of 80 and those with pre-existing health risks, such as high blood pressure or respiratory issues.
  • In the UK, over 300,100 Brits have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and over 45,700 people have died.
  • In total, over 652,593 people have died of COVID-19 worldwide.

Coronavirus fatality rate by age

Age Death rate
0-9 0.00%
10-19 0.20%
20-29 0.20%
30-39 0.20%
40-49 0.40%
50-59 1.30%
60-69 3.60%
70-79 8.00%
80+ 14.80%

Population of those aged over 65 by region

Since the elderly are the most likely to be severely affected by COVID-19, the health of those over the age of 65 is at an increased risk. The map below outlines which UK regions have the most at-risk populations, with the South East leading the way.

Region Population over 65 years
South West 1,230,200
South East 1,761,765
East of England 1,218,475
West Midlands 1,089,236
East Midlands 927,031
Yorshire and the Humber 1,016,336
North West 1,354,625
North East 522,372
Wales 651,993
Scotland 1,026,114
London 1,059,213

Population of different ages by region

Region Aged 0 to 15 Aged 16 to 24 Aged 25 to 49 Aged 50 to 64 Aged 65+
East 1,200,983 606,654 1,979,269 1,195,833 1,218,475
East Midlands 893,824 540,945 1,502,305 940,044 927,031
London 1,834,795 933,076 3,659,254 1,421,743 1,059,213
North East 474,998 298,268 821,725 540,546 522,372
North West 1,394,951 794,224 2,339,740 1,408,553 1,354,625
Scotland 919,502 581,427 1,783,404 1,127,653 1,026,114
South East 1,755,267 950,440 2,897,660 1,768,493 1,761,765
South West 986,908 585,372 1,676,268 1,120,987 1,230,200
Wales 562,709 346,637 953,725 623,567 651,993
West Midlands 1,160,351 667,654 1,891,769 1,091,747 1,089,236
Yorkshire and the Humber 1,046,381 628,850 1,742,840 1,045,208 1,016,336

Life expectancy

In the UK, females have a longer life expectancy than males, at 82.9 years and 79.3 years respectively. Explore the table below to see how life expectancy has changed from 2013-2015 to 2016-2018 and which regions have the highest life expectancy.

Across most regions in the UK, the average life expectancy has increased, but nowhere has seen a bigger increase than London, with the average life expectancy now 25 weeks longer than it was in 2013-2015. However, in Scotland, the average life expectancy has decreased by 2.9 weeks on average.

Life expectancy comparison for males and females in UK regions, 2013-2015 and 2016-2018 compared

Region Male life expectancy in 2016-2018 (years) Change since 2013-2015 (weeks) Female life expectancy in 2016-2018 (years) Change since 2013-2015 (weeks) Average change for both males and females (weeks)
UK 79.3 7.4 82.9 4.6 6.0
England 79.6 8.8 83.2 5.4 7.1
North East 77.9 3 81.7 7.3 5.2
North West 78.3 9.9 81.9 4.7 7.3
Yorkshire and the Humber 78.7 5.5 82.4 4.3 4.9
East Midlands 79.4 7.9 82.9 -2.2 2.9
West Midlands 78.9 6.5 82.7 -0.4 3.1
East 80.3 -0.6 83.7 1 0.2
London 80.7 25.6 84.5 24.5 25.1
South East 80.7 9.9 84.1 7.1 8.5
South West 80.2 5.5 83.8 -1 2.3
Wales 78.3 -6 82.3 1.7 -2.2
Scotland 77.1 -3 81.1 -2.7 -2.9
Northern Ireland 78.7 18.9 82.4 4.2 11.6

Death statistics

There were over 541,500 deaths in the UK in 2018, an increase of 1.6% from 2017 and the highest annual number of deaths since 1999 (553,500).

541,589

deaths were registered in the UK in 2018, up 1.6% from 2017.

Top causes of death in the UK

  1. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease: 13% of all deaths registered were due to one of the two and they are the leading cause of death for women. In total, 51,407 deaths were reported due to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in 2018.
  2. Ischaemic heart diseases: 23,662 deaths.
  3. Cerebrovascular diseases: 20,523 deaths.
  4. Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 18,783 deaths.
  5. Influenza and pneumonia: 17,614 deaths.

12.8%

of deaths in the UK were caused by dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Alcohol consumption

It’s no secret that the UK has a strong drinking culture, but just how much of a problem is it?

  • There were 337,000 alcohol-related hospital admissions in 2018, 2% of overall hospital admissions.
  • Alcohol-specific deaths are higher among men, in fact, they are 55% more common in men than in women (since 2001).
  • There were 5,698 alcohol-specific deaths in 2018, 2% less than in 2017 (5,843).
  • 57% of the UK adult population drink alcohol, a total of 29.2 million people.

But how do these figures stack up against the rest of the world? The UK ranks 17th for alcohol consumption across Europe, while France, Ireland and Germany all rank within the top 10. See the table below for the top 20 countries.

Alcohol consumption across Europe

Country Alcohol consumption in people aged 15+ (litres per capita)
Latvia 12.6
Austria 12.2
Czech Republic 11.8
France 11.6
Lithuania 11.2
Russia 11.2
Ireland 11.0
Luxembourg 11.0
Germany 10.8
Hungary 10.7
Poland 10.7
Portugal 10.4
Spain 10.4
Estonia 10.1
Slovak Republic 10.1
Slovenia 10.0
United Kingdom 9.8
Denmark 9.7
Australia 9.5
Belgium 9.4

Smoking

We looked at the latest statistics to see how many adults (aged 18+) are smoking daily in the UK compared to other countries around the world. 16.6% of the adult population smokes daily, which means the UK ranks 20th out of 35 countries compared on their smoking habits. The country with the lowest percentage of smokers is Costa Rica, where 4.2% of people smoke on a daily bases. The country with the highest percentage of daily smokers is Indonesia, where 39.9% of adults smoke daily.

Percentage of smoking population in different countries

Country Percentage of population that smokes daily
Indonesia 39.90%
Greece 35%
Russia 26.70%
Turkey 26.50%
France 25.40%
China (People's Republic of) 24.70%
Chile 24.50%
Spain 22.10%
Czech Republic 21.10%
Italy 19.20%
Switzerland 19.10%
South Africa 19%
Germany 18.80%
Japan 17.80%
Korea 17.50%
Estonia 17.20%
Israel 16.90%
Denmark 16.90%
Luxembourg 16.80%
United Kingdom 16.60%
Netherlands 15.50%
Belgium 15.40%
Ireland 14%
Finland 13%
New Zealand 12.50%
Australia 12.40%
Canada 11.30%
India 11.20%
United States 10.30%
Sweden 10.10%
Brazil 10.10%
Norway 9%
Iceland 8.20%
Mexico 7.60%
Costa Rica 4.20%

Obesity

26% of UK adults are obese, according to recent government reports. The stats below explore just how bad the obesity figures in the UK are.

  • 64% of UK adults were overweight or obese in 2017.
  • 11,117 hospital admissions were directly attributable to obesity in 2018/2019, an increase of 4% from 2017/2018.
  • There were 876,000 hospital admission where obesity was reported as a factor in 2018/2019, up 23% from 2017/2018.
  • Overall, 67% of men and 60% of women are classified as overweight or obese.
  • 20% of children in Year 6 are classified as obese.
  • 67% of adults are considered active as per government guidelines.

26% of men and 29% of women

are obese.

Work-related accidents

  • 581,000 workers sustained a non-fatal injury at work in 2018/2019, down from 621,000 in 2017/2018.
  • 111 deaths were recorded from work-related accidents in 2019/2020 down from 147 in 2017/2018.
  • 28.2 million days were lost to ill health and workplace injuries in 2018/2019.
  • £5.2 billion was the estimated loss due to workplace injury or sickness in 2017/2018.
  • 1.4 million working people are suffering from a work-related illness.

581,000

injuries occurred at the workplace in 2018/2019, 40,000 less than in 2017/2018.

Mental health

Major depression is thought to be the second leading cause of disability worldwide and a major contributor to suicide and ischaemic heart disease. Below are some more stats regarding mental health in the UK.

  • 1 in 6 people experienced a common mental health problem within the last week.
  • 1 in 5 women are reported to have mental health problems.
  • 1 in 8 men are reported to have mental health problems.
  • There were 6,507 suicides in the UK in 2018, almost 700 more than in 2017 (5,821).
  • Three-quarters of these suicides in the UK were by men.

The cost of health insurance

Brits spent £6 billion on voluntary health insurance in 2017, which was around 3% of overall spending on health care in the UK. We looked into the consumer price index (CPI) of health insurance to find out how much inflation is impacting the cost of health insurance in the UK. Using 2015 as a base year, we can see that health insurance cost 21% more in 2019 than it did in 2015 and 5% more than in 2018. Explore the table and graphic below to find out more.

The CPI of health insurance, 2003-2019

Sources used

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

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

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