Healthy life expectancy

Healthy life expectancy (HLE) adds value to life expectancy by introducing an element of quality of life and indicates the amount of time a person will live in good health (rather than with a disability or in poor health). 

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes healthy life expectancy (HLE) estimates for the average lifespan spent in a favourable state of health, based on self-assessed general health. 

Studies have shown that people in poorer areas not only die sooner, but they will also spend more of their lives living with a disability or living with chronic illness. 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

The figures below refer to the 2016-18 period unless stated.

  • Healthy life expectancy (HLE) at birth for males (all ages) in the Lancashire-12 area (60.4 years) is significantly worse than England (63.4 years). 
  • Blackpool (53.3 years) has the lowest male HLE expectancy in England; Blackburn with Darwen (58.8 years) is also one of the lowest. Both are significantly worse than England (63.4 years).
  • The trend in Lancashire-12 and Blackpool shows a continued decrease in male HLE between 2009-11 and 2016-18, whilst Blackburn with Darwen has seen a slight increase.
  • For females, HLE in Lancashire-12 (64.6 years) is statistically similar to England (63.9 years), while in Blackpool (57.1 years) and Blackburn with Darwen (58.6 years) it is significantly higher. 
  • Female HLE has seen a very slight increase between 2009-11 and 2016-18 in Lancashire-12. In both Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool it has decreased slightly. 
  • 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 in an authority. Analysis shows very substantial inequalities for females and males in Lancashire-12 (females 15.6 years, males 15.8 years), Blackburn with Darwen (17.5, 18.0) and Blackpool (14.5, 16.6) (2009-13).

 For county and unitary data and further information please see below (data are not available at district level).

Page updated May 2020