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New data show politicians have a considerable survival advantage over general populations, based on information from 11 countries and over 57,500 politicians. In some countries this survival advantage is at the highest level for 150 years, and life expectancy at age 45 was found to be around seven years higher for politicians compared to general populations in certain countries.

Ariel view of a large number of people in a city centre

In recent years, improvements in life expectancy have stalled in many high-income countries, and even declined for those in the poorest societal groups. This is thought to reflect widening inequalities, which the COVID-19 pandemic has increased still further. For instance, the latest figures show that men in the most deprived areas in England are expected to live nearly 10 years less than those in the least deprived, whilst women in the same areas can expect to live seven years less (Department of Health and Social Care).*

This has generated much interest in whether certain ‘elite’, high-status occupations, such as politics, are associated with better health. However, to date, studies that have compared mortality rates between politicians and the populations they represent have typically focused on one or a few countries. Today, a new study led by researchers at the Nuffield Department of Population Health has published the most comprehensive analysis so far, based on data from 11 high income countries. The results have been published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website

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