See where your Norfolk ward ranks in table on life expectancy and literacy challenges
Children growing up in areas of Norfolk with weaker literacy levels can also expect to have shorter life expectancies, a new study says.
The research, by the National Literacy Trust, says there is a “staggering” gap between life expectancy and those living in communities with the highest and lowest risk of reading and writing problems.
It uses several factors - including education, employment and income - to work out how at-risk each electoral ward in England is of having low literacy levels, giving them a score from one to 10 before comparing it to official life expectancy data.
Girls born between 2011 and 2015 in the Town ward of Wymondham, for example, have the second joint highest life expectancy around the country - 94.8 years - and a high literacy score of nine.
At the end of the table, the area with the lowest life expectancy for girls, North Lynn at 78.6, had a literacy score of one.
Dan Mobbs, chief executive at Mancroft Advice Project, which works with young people, said the figures should not come as a surprise.
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“Where you have families who don’t know if they have the money to eat, and their children go to school on an empty stomach, they won’t be in the best place to make the most of their education,” he said. “There’s a clear link between poverty and literacy.”
He said the difference in life expectancy could be “absolutely shocking”, varying “tremendously” from one side of a street to the other.
A boy born in Lakenham, in Norwich, between 2011 and 2015 can expect to live until they are 79.5, the figures show, and have low literacy levels, with a score of two.
In nearby Eaton, however, the life expectancy increases to 84.1, and the literacy score to seven.
Mr Mobbs said the link between poverty and life expectancy came down to several factors.
“It can be about healthy eating, pressure and stress, not going to work, not exercising as much, and activities for fun such as going to the gym or playing sports,” he said.
“There’s also a strong link between mental health and poverty.”
The figures were compiled by the Office for National Statistics and Public Health England, with Experian and the National Literacy Trust.