Life expectancy for people in Pendle and Craven could be almost 90 by 2030, according to a new study.
Men are also set to live longer, as official estimates predict the historic gender gap is narrowing.
The study, based on Office for National Statistics data combined with advanced mathematical modelling, suggests average life expectancy for women living in Pendle will be 86.7 in 2030, up from 82.41 in 2012. In Craven, women are expected to live up to the age of 89.3 by 2030, compared to 84.8 in 2012.
For men, the expectancy is that they will live to 84.98 by 2030, compared to an average of 78.57 in 2012. In Craven the figures show men living until the age of 87.66 by 2013, compared to 81.35 in 2012.
The national average shows women’s life expectancy will rise from 83.3 in 2012 to 87.6 in 2030. For men, it is predicted to increase from 79.5 to 85.7 over the same period.
Maria Paola Dey, professor of public health epidemiology at the University of Central Lancashire, said: “We are living longer and a lot of this is down to lifestyle factors.
“We’ve got easier access to fresh foods, more education about things like smoking, the types of jobs we do are changing, and we’ve got better treatments for major killers like cancer and heart disease.
“Men traditionally lived shorter lives than women because of things like heavy industrial jobs and accidents and men had much higher smoking rates with women taking up smoking later, but all that is changing now.”
The gap in life expectancy between this area and wealthy areas of the south is also continuing to widen. Women in Pendle can expect to live 4.49 years less than a woman in Kensington and Chelsea by 2030, and men 4.83 years less. In 2012, the difference between the two areas was 3.81 years for women and 3.69 for men.
Prof. Dey said: “People living in more affluent areas are more likely to lead healthier lives. That’s to do with ease of access to healthier foods and education about healthy lifestyles. There’s also more unemployment around here, which is linked to deprivation and that has an effect on people’s health.”
She added: “As our life expectancy rises it’s important that our healthy life expectancy rises - we don’t want to live longer and be ill longer.
“This places a lot of pressure on social services and we have to make sure that people have access to health care, secondary care and there are issues of people needing decent pensions.”