Could it actually be possible that countries like Iran and Iraq have a better quality of life than the UK? Don’t pack your bags just yet but the latest conflict hot spots of the Middle East might actually come out ahead in a few categories.
Before you scroll down to comment on the virtues of living in London or Cardiff, let’s be clear that we are generally talking about Scotland and, in particular, the crippled Glasgow neighborhood of Carlton.
While many Scots are pushing for Glasgow to be the capital of their new country after Scottish Independence, there are more than a few issues that need to be sorted out beforehand. One of Scotland’s biggest problems is its shockingly low life expectancy. For comparison, Iran has an average life expectancy of73. In Carlton, men typically only live to 53 years old.
Despite decades of war in Iraq, the average man in Iraq is still fairly likely to make it 70 years old. In other notoriously dangerous places like the Gaza Strip, North Korea, and Iran, men still live longer than they do in Carlton. So, why are men in North Korea living almost two decades longer than the men in this UK neighborhood?
The Carlton neighborhood of Glasgow has the usual damning combinations of drug abuse, alcoholism, poor diet, and high smoking rates. 26 percent of the population reports poor health and 52 percent of residents in Carlton smoke. This is hard on both their health and their wallets. The fast-living residents of Carlton are spending an average of 15 percent of their income on cigarettes.
Across the board, the statistics on the neighborhood of Carlton are depressing. 44 percent of the population is on disability benefits. 37 percent of households have zero breadwinners. 30 percent of household heads are single parents.
While other areas of Glasgow are faring much better than Carlton, the Scottish standard of life doesn’t compare to the typical British lifestyle. At the moment, the average life expectance in the United Kingdom is 83 for women and 79 for men. The average life expectancy across all of Scotland is 80 years for women and 76 years for men. In fact, Scotland has the lowest life expectancy in all of Western Europe. Unlike the rest of the region, the British nation is showing life expectancy rates barely above Bulgaria and Latvia.
Things aren’t looking any better in Glasgow in terms of unemployment either. The city is currently struggling to stay afloat with nearly one-third of its residents unemployed. That is more than double the unemployment rate in Iraq.
So, who cares about this poor inner city ghetto in Glasgow? Seemingly there are not many people who do, save for politicians looking to get elected and the rare neighborhood activist. Glasgow, however, is becoming an increasingly important city.
As Scotland prepares to vote for possible independence from the UK next year, the nation is under scrutiny. With a substantial number of Scots supporting the move, Scotland is preparing to become the newest European country on March 24, 2016.
By Nicci Mende