Health Expectancies add a dimension of quality of life to estimates of Life Expectancy, providing a summary population level indicator of lifetime spent in favourable and unfavourable health states. Such an indicator has use to inform policy, planning and research in both public and private sectors in areas such as health improvement monitoring, health care planning, population change and pensions.
This bulletin presents estimates for two types of Health Expectancy; Healthy Life Expectancy, or life spent in very good or good general health, and Disability-Free Life Expectancy, life spent free from a limiting persistent illness and disability.
Among the key points: 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. Males are spending a greater proportion of their lives in favourable health compared with females, though in recent years this gap has narrowed as the health of females has improved more rapidly than for males.