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 2015-17 period.

  • Healthy life expectancy at birth for females in Lancashire-12 (64.5 years) is similar to England (63.8 years), whilst for Blackpool (57.8) and Blackburn with Darwen (58.6) it is significantly lower (worse).
  • Female HLE has seen a slight increase between 2009-11 and 2015-17 in Lancashire-12 and Blackpool, while it has decreased in Blackburn with Darwen. 
  • Male HLE in Lancashire-12 (61.1 years) is statistically similar to England (63.4 years), both Blackpool (54.7) and Blackburn with Darwen (57.3) are significantly worse.
  • HLE for males has decreased slightly between 2009-11 and 2015-17 for Lancashire-12 and Blackpool, whilst Blackburn with Darwen has seen a slight increase.
  • 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 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 March 2019

Health inequalities