Healthy and disability-free life expectancy

Health expectancies add value to life expectancy by introducing an element of quality of life to length of life. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes two types of health expectancies:

  • healthy life expectancy (HLE) estimates the average lifespan spent in a favourable state of health, based on self-assessed general health; and
  • disability-free life expectancy (DFLE) estimates length of life spent free from limiting long-term illness or disability.

ONS's most recent (2013-15) estimates for HLE and DFLE at birth and at age 65 are available for top tier local authority areas hereThe difference in disability-free life expectancy is greater than HLE, with the average difference between the most and least deprived areas being 17 years. This means people in poorer areas not only die sooner, but they will also spend more of their lives living with a disability. For society to have a healthy population it is essential to take action to both raise the general level of health and flatten the social gradient.

Key findings for healthy life expectancy in Lancashire-14

  • Healthy life expectancy at birth (HLE) for females in Lancashire-12 (63.6 yrs) is similar to England (64.1 yrs). Blackburn with Darwen (60.3 yrs) and Blackpool (59.0 yrs) are significantly lower.
  • HLE for males is significantly lower than England (63.4 yrs) in Lancashire-12 (61.8 yrs), Blackburn with Darwen (58.0 yrs) and Blackpool (56.4 yrs).
  • HLE for males has increased between 2012-14 and 2013-15 for Lancashire-12 and Blackpool, with the greatest rise in Blackpool (1.3 yrs).
  • HLE for the Lancashire-14 area is consistently below retirement age, indicating degrees of ill health among the working-age population and suggesting many residents are not able to enjoy their retirement in good health.
  • The Slope index of inequality (SII) in HLE measures the gradient in HLE across the least to most deprived small areas. Analysis shows very substantial inequalities for males in Blackburn with Darwen, with 18 years difference between the most and least deprived areas.

Further data

Healthy life expectancy at birth (XLSX 11.6 MB)

 Page updated March 2017

Health inequalities