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Health in the UK: Facts and statistics
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.
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: 80.21 years on average (2020). Males can expect to live up to 78.27 years and females to 82.15 years.
- Healthy life expectancy: The age up to which people can expect to live healthily is 62.8 for men and 63.6 for women.
- UK health spending: £257.6 billion was spent on health care by the government in 2020. This means that £3,840 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: In 2021, there were 568,334 deaths in the UK. This is a 3.6% decrease from 2020, where there were 607,922 registered deaths.
- Alcohol: 57% of adults (aged 16+) in the UK drink alcohol.
- Smoking: 14.5% of adults (aged 18+) in the UK smoke daily.
- Obesity: 68% of adult males and 60% of adult females were overweight or obese in the UK.
The number of hospital beds available in the UK
In 2021, there were approximately 157,800 hospital beds available per night in the UK. This figure has been declining since 2000, when there were around 240,000 hospital beds available per night, which is 34% fewer beds compared to the year 2000.
|Year||Available hospital beds|
Are Brits happy with the National Health Service (NHS)?
According to the annual BSA survey, over 4 in 10 of Brits (43%) are unhappy with how the NHS is currently being run. The survey suggests that this is the first time since 2002 where more people in the UK are unhappy with the NHS than happy.
|Very or quite satisfied||36%|
|Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied||23%|
Life expectancy in the UK 2022
In the UK, life expectancy was 80.21 years for 2018–2020, with females having a longer life expectancy of 82.15 years compared to males of 78.27. Life expectancy has increased by 1.16% from 2018–2020 compared to 10 years previous in 2008–2010.
Out of the UK nations, England has the highest life expectancy at 81.23 years, followed by Northern Ireland (80.52 years), Wales (80.19 years) and lastly Scotland (78.90 years), the only nation with a life expectancy less than 80 years.
Explore the table below to see how life expectancy has changed from 2008–2010 to 2018–2020 and how this differs between the UK nations and gender.
|Total average||Male life expectancy 2018–2020||Male life expectancy 2008–2010||Male change since 2008–2010||Female life expectancy 2018–2020||Female life expectancy 2008–2010||Female change since 2008–2010|
|United Kingdom||80.21 years||78.27 years||77.15 years||1.45%||82.15 years||81.44 years||0.88%|
|England||81.2 years||79.33 years||78.31 years||1.30%||83.12 years||82.33 years||0.96%|
|Scotland||78.90 years||76.79 years||75.8 years||1.31%||81.01 years||80.32 years||0.86%|
|Wales||80.19 years||78.29 years||77.51 years||1.01%||82.09 years||81.66 years||0.53%|
|Northern Ireland||80.52 years||78.65 years||76.97 years||2.18%||82.38 years||81.43 years||1.17%|
Death statistics in the UK
There were over 568,334 deaths in the UK in 2021, a decrease of 3.6% from 2020 (607,922).
Top causes of death in the England and Wales (2021)
|Reason for death||Total amount||Percentage of total deaths|
|Dementia and Alzheimer's disease||61,250||10.4|
|Ischaemic heart diseases||56,960||9.7|
|Malignant neoplasm of trachea bronchus and lung||28,190||4.8|
Mental health statistics in the UK
Alcohol consumption in the UK
|UK adults who drink alcohol||Percentage|
|Does not drink alcohol||43%|
How many Brits smoke daily?
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.
14.5% of the adult population smokes daily, which means the UK ranks 29th out of 30 countries compared to their smoking habits.
The country with the lowest percentage of smokers is Iceland where 7.2% of people smoke on a daily basis. The country with the highest percentage of daily smokers is Indonesia, where almost 1 in 3 adults (32.6%) smoke daily.
|China (People's Republic of)||25.3|
What percentage of the UK is obese?
Work-related incidents in the UK
The cost of health insurance
Around 13% of the UK population has some kind of health insurance, and, in general, 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.