Services will face strain when St Helens population soars

St Helens Star: An increase in life expectancy is expected to drive a rise in the town's population An increase in life expectancy is expected to drive a rise in the town's population

THE population of St Helens is set to soar over the next two decades and reach 194,300 by 2035, according to a study by health officials.

The growth in the elderly population, which is linked to an increase in life expectancy, and an increase in the birth rate will see the population rise way beyond the current figure, estimated to be 176,000.

The rise will place greater demand on services particularly for the elderly and early years.

The details are set out in a St Helens’ public health report.

Titled ‘Better Health Together’ it was put before the council’s cabinet meeting who unanimously endorsed the recommendations.

It sets out issues such as improving health across the town and tackling issues which may cause damage.

The work led by Liz Gaulton, director of Public Health at the council, covers a wide range of issues from improving parks, to reducing exposure to second hand smoke, increasing breastfeeding rates, considering mental health wellbeing and developing services for people who suffer from substance abuse.

Also among the key findings is the forecast of a significant growth in the town’s population.

By 2020 there will be 37,500 people aged 65 and older – 5,000 more than in 2012.

Life expectancy for men is 77.9 years and 81.5 for women which is the highest in Merseyside for men and third highest for women.

For 2010-2012 the life expectancy at birth was worse than the national average. But there are also significant variances between where people live in the town.

On average men whose homes are in the town centre will live to 72, whereas those in Rainford will live to 82. For women there is an eight year difference between town centre (76.5) and Eccleston (84.4).

The biggest killers remain cancer and associated conditions, accounting for the deaths of 30 per cent of men and 27 per cent of women

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