Healthy life expectancy

The estimated average number of years that a new born baby could be expected to live in ‘good’ or ‘very good’ health based on how individuals perceive their general health. Find out more about this indicator.

Over the last decade healthy life expectancy has increased for males and decreased for females.  However, both males and females experienced a decrease  in healthy life expectancy over the latest year.  

In 2018-20, healthy life expectancy was at 61.7 years for males and 61.9 years for females, compared with 60.9 for males and 61.8 for females in 2018-20.

The decrease in healthy life expectancy coincides with a stalling of growth in life expectancy in recent years, and has resulted in a lower proportion of life being spent in good health with 79.3% for males and 76.3% for females.

Beyond the headline figures:

  • The local authority with the lowest male HLE estimate was Inverclyde (54.4 years) and for female estimates North Ayrshire (54.0 years). Male HLE was highest in Orkney Islands (71.2 years) and Female HLE was also highest in Orkney Islands (77.5 years).

  • The gap in healthy life expectancy at birth between the most and least deprived areas was 24.4 years for males and 24.2 years for females.

  • The difference in healthy life expectancy estimates in the most urban and most rural areas for males is 6.9 years and for females is 3.6 years.

Breakdowns for this indicator are available by local authority, health board, Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation and urban/rural classification. These breakdowns can be viewed on the Equality Evidence Finder.

Performance Worsening

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