Data published by the National Records of Scotland last week show that life expectancy from birth of people born in Ayrshire has declined.

Figures show that on average, men born in the Ayrshire and Arran health board area can expect to live for 75.71 years and women for 80.01, based on data taken from 2018-20. That’s down from 76.40 for men and 80.46 for women in 2017-2019.

In East Ayrshire life expectancy declined from 75.88 for men to 79.23 for women between 2017-2019 to 75.23 and 79.81 years between 2018-2020.

Men born in North Ayrshire can expect to live for 75.30 years according to the data, women in the area can expect to live for almost five years longer at 79.54. That’s down from 76.07 and 79.98 between 2017-2019.

And in South Ayrshire, residents had the longest life expectancy from birth, with men said to live on average for 76.65 years and women for 81.14. Although they too, saw a decrease in life expectancy from the 2017-2019 period, with men living until 77.28 and women 81.64 on average.

Julie Ramsay, Head of Vital Events Statistics at NRS, said that Covid was driving down life expectancy.

She said: “It is clear that the high number of excess deaths in 2020 has led to the fall in life expectancy. Our analysis shows that Covid-19 deaths accounted for the vast majority of the fall in life expectancy for both males and females, with drug-related deaths also having a negative impact on life expectancy for males.

“This measure of life expectancy provides an important summary of the health of the population and helps to show how this is changing. Increases in life expectancy point to a healthier population whilst reductions point to a decline in population health. Covid-19 has clearly driven a significant increase in deaths and this life expectancy measure will provide important evidence as to whether the impact of the pandemic is a one-off shock or whether it will have a sustained impact on mortality.”

Female life expectancy at birth was highest in East Renfrewshire (84.0 years) and lowest in Glasgow City (78.3 years) whilst male life expectancy at birth was highest in Shetland Islands (80.6 years) and lowest in Glasgow City (73.1 years).