(Natural News) If you’re wondering if there is a difference in how old you’re expected to live to compared to our ancestors roughly 200 years ago, researchers from the University of Liverpool have got you covered. The researchers replicated a study done 175 years ago to see if the results of the study were still applicable today. What they found was in the same eerie vein: people who lived in Liverpool had a shorter life expectancy than those who lived in Rutland, a rural area in England.
This was derived from a study into sanitation conditions by Edwin Chadwick in 1842. The study noted that average age by death and by occupational group in five areas in the U.K.: namely, Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester, Bolton, and Rutland. The findings from the original study pointed a strong link between your current place of residence, your occupation, and your life expectancy. At the time, the study was the first to navigate issues regarding health and life circumstances around a myriad of geographical differences — for example, a worker living in a rural area such as Rutland is expected to live longer than a professional tradesman in Liverpool, an urban area.
During the time of the original study, the cities reported were very different from the ones that stand today. These cities that were chosen were, at the time, full of infectious diseases due to poor sanitary conditions. To paint a vivid example: cholera was a common disease back then because of a lack of clean water in cities or the improper disposal of human waste. Industries practiced without regulation, leading to high level of pollutants that ran off into major waterways and soil. Finally, slum areas were densely populated and nearly overrun by people. This created a quick widespread of disease at any given time.
In comparison, rural areas such as Rutland did not have the problems that plagued early cities and was considered to have a better “chance of life,” as defined by Chadwick.
The “chance of life” is an interpretation of statistics gathered for all classes of the population — the average age wherein people died. For example, a worker in Manchester would have a chance of life of around 17 years old, compared to a worker in Rutland who can live to be at least 52.
The results of the study were revisited by the Department of Geography and Planning. To replicate the study, data from the 2011 census of the Office of National Statistics were used to see which areas of the results were still in effect.
While the current study found the level of inequality had greatly different since 1842, the same results held true regarding life expectancies of people as they did in the original study. The study indicated that people from the middle social class bracket were still able to outlive those in the highest social class in Liverpool. Additionally, life expectancy has doubled since the time of the original study.
According to lead author Dr. Mark Green, “On the 175th anniversary of this report, which was ground-breaking at the time, we wanted to see if in the 21st century your geography — that is where you live — still determined your health and life expectancy.” (Related: Study Shows Life Expectancy Rates Are Falling in Poor U.S. Counties.)
He posits the results of both studies to varying choices in life for each location, as well as similar outcomes for people in the same occupational group. Moreover, the results of the study indicate that geography still remains as a factor in the mortality rates for each occupation — just as it was 175 years ago.