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 10 Years On, published in 2020, shows for the first time in more than 100 years life expectancy has failed to increase across the country, and for the poorest 10% of women it has actually declined. Over the last decade health inequalities have widened overall, and the amount of time people spend in poor health has increased since 2010.This means people in poorer areas not only die sooner, but they will also spend more of their lives living with a long-term health condition or 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: life expectancy at birth

Unless stated otherwise, the figures below refer to the 2016-18 period.

  • In Lancashire-12, life expectancy at birth (LE) for males (78.5 years) is significantly worse compared to England (79.6). Both Blackburn with Darwen (76.9) and Blackpool (74.5) are also significantly worse compared to England, with Blackpool having the lowest male LE in the country. 
  • At a district level, only Ribble Valley (81.2 years) has a significantly better male LE when compared to England. Burnley (76.2), Hyndburn (76.7), Preston (78.0), Pendle (78.1), Lancaster (78.3), Wyre (78.3), Chorley (78.6), Rossendale (78.6) are all significantly worse. 
  • For females, there is a similar picture, with LE at birth significantly worse in Lancashire-12 (82.2 years), Blackburn with Darwen (80.3) and Blackpool (79.5), when compared to England (83.2). 
  • There are no districts in the Lancashire-12 area which have a significantly higher female LE than England. Hyndburn (80.7), Preston (80.9), Pendle (81.3), Burnley (81.4), West Lancashire (82.2), Rossendale (82.2), Wyre (82.4), Chorley (82.4) and Lancaster (82.5) are all significantly worse. 
  • The slope index of inequality (SII) measures inequalities in LE at birth within local authorities and represents the range in years, of life expectancy, and measures the gradient in LE across the most to least deprived small areas. For males, this figure is 10.1 years in the Lancashire-12 area, 10.9 years in Blackburn with Darwen and 12.3 years in Blackpool (England 9.5).
  • For females the SII is 8.1 years in Lancashire-12, 8.4 years in Blackburn with Darwen and 10.1 years in Blackpool (England 7.5).

Key findings: Life expectancy at 65 years

Unless stated otherwise, the figures below refer to the 2016-18 period. Life expectancy at 65 is the average number of years a person would expect to live based on contemporary mortality rates. 

  • In Lancashire-12, life expectancy at 65 years for males (18.4 years) is significantly lower when compared to England (18.9). Blackburn with Darwen (17.3) and Blackpool (16.7) also have a significantly lower life expectancy at 65.
  • At an individual district level, only males in Ribble Valley (19.5 years) have a significantly higher LE at 65, compared to England. Rossendale (18.5), West Lancashire (18.5), Fylde (18.8) and South Ribble (19.1) are similar, while the remaining districts are significantly lower. 
  • For females, life expectancy at 65 in Lancashire-12 is significantly lower than England (21.2). Blackburn with Darwen (19.1) and Blackpool (19.1) are also estimated to have a significantly lower life expectancy at 65.
  • Looking at the districts, only females in Ribble Valley (21.8 years) have a significantly higher LE at 65 compared to England. West Lancashire (20.7), Fylde (20.8), Wyre (21.0) and South Ribble (21.5) are similar, with the rest of the districts significantly lower.
  • For females in Lancashire-12, the SSI in LE at 65 is 4.5 years; for Blackburn with Darwen it is 5.3 years and Blackpool it is 3.6 years (England 4.6).
  • For males the SII is 4.7 years for Lancashire-12; for Blackburn with Darwen it is 6.8 years and Blackpool it is 4.5 years (England 5.0).

 For county, district and unitary data and further information please see below.

Page updated May 2020