A new report released by National Records of Scotland (NRS) revealed that life expectancy in Scotland fell last year with the biggest annual decrease in 40 years.
The Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to life expectancy in the country falling by 17.6 weeks for men and by 6.1 weeks for women in the period 2018-2020.
This has caused Scotland to fall behind other nations in the UK in terms of life expectancy as well as the UK average.
Life expectancy at birth in the UK was 82.9 years for females and 79.0 years for males compared to the Scottish figure at 81 years for females and 76.8 years for males.
However, all home nations have experienced a drop in life expectancy in the last year due to Covid.
Since the 1980s, Scotland’s life expectancy has steadily increased until it leveled off in 2012 and remained unchanged until last year.
The figures in the report show that the negative effect of Covid deaths on male life expectancy is -16.7 weeks while the number for females is -14.3 weeks.
The increasing number of drug deaths in Scotland has also been a factor in the shortening of men’s life expectancy by 5.6 weeks.
However, cancer, dementia and other respiratory conditions have seen improvements to mortality which is balancing out the negative effect of Covid-19 and drugs on life expectancy.
Is life expectancy better in the north and north-east of Scotland?
The Shetland Islands has the highest life expectancy for males at 80.6 years while the lowest is in Glasgow City at 73.1 years.
The Orkney Islands ranks second behind East Renfrewshire for the highest life expectancy in both males and females.
The Shetland Islands, Na-h Eileanan Siar and Aberdeenshire rank fourth, fifth and eighth respectively in terms of female life expectancy.
The majority of council areas in Scotland have experienced a slow down in the growth rate of life expectancy since 2012 with the Shetland Islands being the exemption for both males and females.
The Highlands experienced the second largest decrease in female life expectancy from +15 weeks between 2001 and 2014 to -7.5 weeks from 2014 to 2020.
The NRS report also highlights the stark difference between rural and urban areas with regards to life expectancy.
In 2018-2020, males living in rural areas are expected to live 79.3 years compared to males in large urban areas at 75.7 years.
Females living in rural areas can expect to live to 83.2 years compared to 80.4 years in large urban areas.