This indicator estimates the average number of years a person spends in good health. Healthy life expectancy (HLE) uses the same population and death inputs as life expectancy in addition to self-reported health data from the annual population survey (APS) and health data from the 2011 census.

Healthy life expectancy is reported as a three year rolling average. This is to ensure that the estimates are statistically robust. This is consistent with the way that life expectancy is produced and also consistent across UK countries.

Source of Data:

Healthy life expectancy (HLE) uses the same population and death inputs as life expectancy. In addition, it requires survey data from which to estimate prevalence of good health. These data come from the general health question in the Annual Population survey (APS). The measurement is based on an estimate of the number of people who believe themselves to be in ‘good’ or ‘very good’ general health.

Results from the Annual Population Survey are published on the Scottish Government website.

Data is also taken from the 2011 census and used to impute the health state of the very oldest and youngest groups who are not well covered in the APS. A census term is also used to constrain the model for calculating HLE.


The use of ‘good’ or ‘very good’ answers to the general health question in the APS to estimate healthy life expectancy, in combination with  census data, population and death data follows the same methodology as ONS.

Criteria for Change:

This evaluation is based on: Statistical significance using a t-test

  • A guide for the general methodology of indicators can be found here:
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