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Video Summary: Disability Free Life Expectancy by Area Deprivation: England, 2003-06 and 2007-10

Released: 25 July 2013

This is a short video looking at the inequality in disability free life expectancy by area deprivation in England for the years 2003-06 and 2007-10.

So, what is disability free life expectancy?  To explain we will use this chart where remaining years of life are plotted against increasing age.

The green line represents life expectancy. This is how many years a person can expect to live on average. In this example, a person born into this population can expect to live close to 80 years. While this is useful information it gives no indication of quality of life.

To add a quality of life dimension to life expectancy we can use disability free life expectancy / also known as DFLE shown by the orange line. This measure tells us how long a person could expect to live free from an illness that limits day to day activities or disability.

We will now consider how DFLE varies with deprivation. Using a measure called the Index of multiple deprivation or IMD for short, small areas in England can be divided into five groups and ordered from the Least deprived to the most deprived. So what is IMD? IMD is a measure of the area and takes into account many factors like/ education of the area. / Income of the people in the area/. Health and access to health care, factors relating to employment, barriers to housing and access to services and crime experienced in the area.

Typically the least deprived areas are richer, healthier, have better qualifications and jobs, have less barriers to housing and service and experience less crime. In the most deprived areas the situation is reversed.

We will now consider DFLE for Males and females at birth and age 65, in two, four year time periods from 2003-2006 and  2007-10. Firstly we will consider the least deprived areas in 2003-2006. Females have a slightly higher DFLE than males at birth and at age 65.  Introducing the most deprived areas in 2003-2006, the DFLE is considerably lower in each case.  Introducing the data for the least deprived areas in 2007-10,  DFLE has dropped slightly, and finally introducing the data for the most deprived areas in 2007-10, DFLE has again dropped,  but by a larger amount than the least deprived areas. 

We are going to look at the difference between 2003-06 and 2007-10 again later.

We will now use this graph which will show Life expectancy and DFLE for males at birth to illustrate trends across deprivation groups.

Firstly we’ll look at an interesting feature seen in life expectancy and DFLE in different deprivation groups.

These bars here show life expectancy for males at birth in 2003-06.  There is a steady decrease in life expectancy as the groups become more deprived. To illustrate this more clearly, we can draw a straight line from the top of each bar and look at the spacing between the lines. Zooming in, the first three gaps are fairly equal suggesting a steady drop in life expectancy with increasing deprivation. However when we get to the most deprived group there is a much bigger gap. This means the most deprived group have lower life expectancy than we might expect.

Now we will look at the trends in life expectancy and DFLE between 2003 to 2006 and 2007-2010. 

The next bar introduced is life expectancy in 2007-10, consistent with the national trend this has increased with time. Considering DFLE for 2003-2006, this is smaller than life expectancy. Again there is a clear pattern of decreasing DFLE with increasing deprivation. DFLE for males at birth in 2003-06 for the least deprived areas was 70.2 years compared with 56.8 years for the most deprived. Introducing data from 2007-10,  DFLE has generally dropped from 2003-2006.

To asses the inequality or difference between the most and least deprived group we can use a measure represented by the two green lines. This is called the range. When we introduce the range for DFLE using the blue lines it is bigger than for life expectancy, This means there is more inequality between the most and least deprived in terms of limiting illness than in terms of Life expectancy. This pattern is the same for both sexes at birth and at age 65.

We will consider the inequality using the range for all groups and how it has changed over time. This chart shows the range between the most and least deprived areas in each category. The inequality at birth in 2003-2006 was greater for males, at 13.4 years, compared with 11.0 years, for females. This pattern is repeated at age 65 with men having a range 5.1 years in DFLE compared with 4.1 years for women. When we introduce the 2007-10 data,  in all cases the range and therefore the inequality has increased. /For males at birth, it has increased by 1.3 years to 14.7 years/. The increase for females is more pronounced, rising 2.4 years to 13.4 years. This means the gap between males and females, in term of DFLE, has narrowed. The same pattern is evident in men and women aged 65. Inequality for men aged 65 has increased 0.3 years to 5.4 years/ for women the increase is bigger rising 0.6 years to 4.7 years.

These figures show the inequality in disability free life expectancy is increasing and is more evident in females than males.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

  1. Further information is available in the statistical bulletin and data tables (84.5 Kb Excel sheet) .

  2. The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

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    Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

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