So Crisis, a UK-based charity supporting the homeless, brought out a report highlighting differences in mortality between the homeless and the UK population in general. The headlines that accompanied it made shocking reading. “Homeless people in the UK revealed to have life expectancy of just 47” from the Guardian is a typical example, highlighting the 30 year difference between that and the equivalent figure for the UK population. More on the media later.
Let me come clean and state my conclusions right from the off. There will be swearing.
It’s not the life expectancy of the homelessness that’s 30 years lower than the UK average. It’s the average age at death. Now I know that that sounds like I’m splitting hairs over a trivial difference. Trust me, I’m not, as I will now explain.