Life expectancy

Life expectancy (LE) at birth has been used as a measure of the health status of the population in England and Wales since the 1840s. It was employed in some of the earliest reports of the Registrar General to illustrate the differences in mortality experienced by populations in different parts of the country. The tradition of using life expectancy as an indicator of geographic inequalities in health has been continued by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) since 2001, with the publication of sub-national life expectancy statistics. Period life expectancy at a given age for an area is the average number of years a person would live, if he or she experienced the particular area age-specific mortality rates for that time period throughout his or her life.

Many studies have shown that geographical variations in life expectancy can largely be accounted for by individual and area-based deprivation. The Marmot Review published in 2010 highlighted the fact that people living in the poorest neighbourhoods will on average, die seven years earlier than people living in the richest neighbourhoods. The difference in disability-free life expectancy is even greater, 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 Lancashire-14: life expectancy

Unless stated otherwise, the figures below refer to the 2014-16 period.

  • It is estimated that females and males born between 2014 and 2016 in Blackburn with Darwen (females 80.6, males 76.2), Blackpool (79.5, 74.2), or Lancashire-12 (82.2, 78.7) will have significantly shorter lives than the England national averages (83.1, 79.5).
  • Within Lancashire-12, estimated female LE at birth ranges from 80.5 in Burnley to 83.7 in South Ribble, an inequality gap of 3.2 years. The districts of Burnley (80.5), Chorley (82.3), Hyndburn (81.0), Lancaster (82.1), Pendle (81.5), Preston (81.5), Rossendale (82.3) and West Lancashire (82.4) are all estimated to have significantly lower female LE at birth than England.
  • Estimated male LE at birth ranges from 76.7 in Burnley to 81.8 in Ribble Valley, an inequality gap of 5.1 years. In addition, the districts of Burnley (76.7), Hyndburn (76.8), Lancaster (78.4), Pendle (78.1), Preston (77.8) and Rossendale (78.2) are all estimated to have significantly lower male LE at birth than England.
  • Research at a national level has found that the UK has seen a large reduction in the rate of improvement of male and female LE over the second decade of the twenty-first century.
  • At a local level, analysis has shown that whilst overall estimates of female and male life expectancy in Lancashire-12 continue to increase, at a district level, Hyndburn, Preston, Ribble Valley and West Lancashire have seen a reduction in female LE at birth. Fylde, Lancaster and Wyre have all seen decreases in their male estimated LE at birth.
  • Chorley has seen a plateauing of both its female and male LE at birth
  • Blackburn with Darwen has seen a reduction in both its female and male LE at birth estimates, whilst Blackpool has seen a drop in male LE at birth.

Key findings for Lancashire-14: Life expectancy at 65

  • Both females and males aged 65+, living in Lancashire-12 (females 20.6, males 18.4), Blackburn with Darwen (19.2, 17.4) and Blackpool (19.3, 16.5) are estimated to have a lower life expectancy at 65 than the England averages (21.1, 18.8).
  • Female LE at 65 in Lancashire-12 ranges from 19.8 in Hyndburn to 21.8 in South Ribble, a gap of two years, with the districts of Burnley (20.1), Chorley (20.4), Hyndburn (19.8), Lancaster (20.2), Pendle (20.2), Preston 20.0 and Rossendale all estimated to have significantly lower LE at 65 than the national average.
  • For males, LE at 65 ranges from 17.2 in Burnley to 19.6 in Ribble Valley a gap of 2.4 years. Burnley (17.2), Hyndburn (17.5), Lancaster (18.3), Preston (17.6), Rossendale (18.0) and West Lancashire (18.3) are all estimated to have significantly lower male LE than England.
  • As with LE at birth, LE at 65 has levelled in some areas with Burnley, Lancaster and Wyre seeing no change in their male LE at 65 and Pendle and Preston seeing no change in their female LE estimates.
  • Chorley and South Ribble saw a reduction of their LE at 65 estimates for males, whilst Ribble Valley saw an increase.

The Slope index of inequality

The Slope index of inequality (SII) measures inequalities in LE at birth within local authorities and represents the range in years, of life expectancy, across the social gradient from most to least deprived groups of small areas. For the 2014 to 2016 period the following observations were made:

  • For females in Lancashire-12, the SSI is 8.2 years; for Blackburn with Darwen it is 6.8 years and Blackpool it is 9.6 years.
  • For males the SII is 9.9 years for Lancashire-12; for Blackburn with Darwen it is 10.8 years and Blackpool it is 13.6 years.

Further data

Changes in life expectancy 2010-12 to 2014-16 (XLSX 317 KB)

Page updated February 2018