Changes to health state life expectancy methodology

Closed 8 Feb 2018

Opened 7 Dec 2017

Results expected 13 Apr 2018


The Office for National Statistics (ONS) produces health state life expectancy statistics which measure how long a person can expect to live in "Good" health or without a limiting persistent illness or disability. The release includes measures of Life Expectancy (LE), Healthy Life Expectancy (HLE) and Disability Free Life Expectancy (DFLE).

In 2016, ONS extended sub-national reporting of health state life expectancy to local areas in the UK for the period 2013 to 2015. This occurred at a time when sub-national life table methodology changed from an abridged life table closed at ages 85+ to one closed at ages 90+. A methods paper was published in November 2016 to explain how we were going to impute health prevalence at both younger age groups (under 16) and in those aged 85-89 and 90 and over using 2011 Census data.

Since then we have conducted further work to investigate ways to combine the use of census data and survey data to obtain a more consistent picture of the transition in health state and disability-free prevalence by age and over time across UK local areas. This work is presented in this proposed methods changes report.

If we adopt the new method we will apply it to data from previous years as well as future publications during the course of 2018.

Why We Are Consulting

The proposed methods changes report released alongside this consultation with our annual publication reports the results of three methods that we have investigated to improve the calculation of Healthy Life Expectancy (HLE) and Disability Free Life Expectancy (DFLE) and presents our preferred method for calculating health state life expectancies.

We would value your feedback on the proposed changes to understand any concerns or challenges before we make a decision on implementing them.

 As someone who is interested in ONS statistics, we’d welcome your views. We will publish a summary of our findings after the survey closes, and do not intend to publish individual responses. Your response might be made available if required under a Freedom of Information request. We will not publish personal contact details.

To take part in this consultation, please review the attached consultation document and then record your responses in the online survey via the link below. A word document containing the consultation questions is also available below.

If you wish to contact us about the consultation, please contact the Health State Life Expectancy Team by telephone (+44 (0)1633 455865) or email:

What Happens Next

We will publish a summary of the comments made no more than 12 weeks after the consultation closes. Any changes that have been identified through the consultation process will be implemented in the next annual publication. 


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