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Healthy life expectancy: data introduction

Estimates of life expectancy (LE) and healthy life expectancy (HLE) for Scotland and the population sub-groups indicated in Table 1 are to be found within the data pages accessible via the menu on the left.

The December 2016 HLE update includes previously unpublished 2015 LE and HLE estimates for Scotland. It also includes an update of UK comparisons and International comparisons.

Table 1: Data for Scotland presented on life expectancy and healthy life expectancy

Data dimensions / geographies Data Presented ? (Y=yes; N=no)
Life expectancy Healthy life expectancy
By gender Y Y
By age group



By NHS board area Y Y
By council area Y Y
By intermediate geography

Y (but not shown for
very small areas)

By deprivation quintile Y Y

By deprivation decile

By urban rural classification Y Y
Time trend Y Y
National target No target Y (trends show progress
towards 2017 target)
Comparison with UK/GB Y Y
International comparison Y

Y (limited data, for
health expectancy)


The 2004 Healthy life expectancy in Scotland (324KB) report, executive summary (92KB) and paper by Wood et al (2006) provided the first published estimates of male and female HLE for the Scottish population. They included estimates by NHS board, local authority area and deprivation quintile, with health expectancy based on either self-assessed health (SAH) or limiting long-term illness.

Important data notes

95% confidence intervals are presented alongside every LE or HLE estimate presented here, to show the precision of each figure in terms of the likely range of random year-to-year statistical variability in the data used to produce the estimates. However, it should be emphasised that it is not possible to quantify effects such as any inconsistencies in how people interpret and respond to questions about their health, or any unusual circumstances which affect the figures for a particular area or year. For further discussion of such issues, and interpretation of the 95% confidence interval for LE in a particular small area, please see the data page for intermediate geographies.

Please note that in the charts on the data pages, the y axis does not start at zero, and different scales may be used in different charts as appropriate.

ScotPHO publishes Scotland's definitive HLE estimates (alongside the corresponding LE estimates for the same time-periods and geographies, to allow an estimation of the time expected to be spent in 'not healthy' health).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes the definitive Scotland-level LE estimates (based on interim life tables by single year of age) on behalf of National Records of Scotland (NRS). ONS also publish Health Expectancies data for Scotland including LE, HLE and DFLE.

NRS publishes definitive LE estimates for areas within Scotland.



Vicky Elliott
Principal Information Analyst
Victoria.Elliott@nhs.netThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Tel: 0131 275 7446


An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland produced by Information Services Division (ISD) on behalf of ScotPHO. See the ISD About Our Statistics web page for further information on ISD and Official Statistics.

Page last updated: 01 September 2017

© Scottish Public Health Observatory 2014