Ballymoney on top of the world

Great to see that Ballymoney is right up there almost with Japan in the world tables of life expectancy. It’s not a comparison we’re used to, but we can make the link if we compare World Health Organisation figures out today with Irish Public Health institute results last week.

Their quality of life is so high in the north Antrim Shangri-la that men can expect to reach an average age of 78.1 years; while women live, on average, to the grand old age of 82.4.

The average life expectancy for the whole of Northern Ireland, stands at 75.9 years for men, and 80.6 years for women.

The all-Ireland life expectancy is 75.6 years for males and 80.6 years for females. “

So it would seem the Celtic Tiger’s slightly greater prosperity doesn’t give them the edge on how long they live.

The World Health Organisation study tells a story that won’t surprise us. Social injustice kills and is widening on a grand scale although it’s conceded that in rich countries the bottom rung has been raised.

“In every society there is a substantial gap between the life expectancy of the children of the most affluent and privileged, and those who are born into deprivation. But some countries are better than others at closing the gap.”

The salutary point is that if two people live only a mile or two apart, one in the inner city, the other in the leafy suburbs, life can be much longer in the leafy suburbs. So in Britain: “A boy in the suburb of Calton, Glasgow, can expect to live 28 years less than one raised in Lenzie, a few miles away. One born in Hampstead, London, will live around 11 years longer than a boy from St Pancras, five stops away on the Northern line of the underground.” So life expectancy in Lenzie is much higher than the average, at 82 for men. Healthy suburbanites everywhere can I presume, look forward to a similar result.

I wonder how wide the gap is between say Ardoyne in north Belfast and Ballyclare?

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London