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Release: Health Expectancies at Birth and Age 65 in the United Kingdom, 2008-10

Released: 29 August 2012


Mike Smith

Health and Life Events

Telephone: +44 (0)1633 455925

Categories: Health and Social Care, Health of the Population, Disability and Self-reported Health, Health Expectancy

Frequency of release: Annually

Language: English

Geographical coverage: UK

Geographical breakdown: Country, UK and GB

Survey name(s): Census, General Lifestyle Survey

  • In the UK, males and females can expect to spend more than 80 per cent of their lives in very good or good general health from birth, falling to around 57 per cent at age 65.

  • Males and females in England can expect to spend the longest periods in very good or good general health and free from a limiting persistent illness or disability. The shortest periods are in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

  • The proportion of life spent in very good or good general health is increasing in England and Wales but, on the whole, falling in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

  • Males are spending a greater proportion of their lives in favourable health compared with females. However, in recent years this gap has narrowed as the health of females has improved more rapidly than for males.

This report presents the latest figures on male and female health expectancy, at birth and at age 65, for the UK and its four constituent countries. While life expectancy (LE) provides an estimate of average expected life-span, healthy life expectancy (HLE) divides total LE into years spent in good or ‘not good’ health. Disability-free life expectancy (DFLE) divides LE into years lived with and without a limiting persistent illness or disability. These figures are three-year averages. LE is taken from the UK national interim life tables published annually by ONS, and the measures of general health and limiting persitent illness or disability from the General Household Survey (GHS) in Great Britain and the Continuous Household Survey (CHS) and the Health Survey for Northern Ireland.

Other useful information

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.