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Health of Scotland’s population - Life Expectancy

Life Expectancy and Healthy Life Expectancy

Life expectancy (LE) predicts the number of years that a person can expect to live, on average.  It is used to monitor population morbidity and mortality, and to measure health trends and inequalities within the population.

Healthy life expectancy (HLE) at birth is a general health quality outcome measure, which combines life expectancy and self-assessed health from survey data.

Underlying trends in both LE and HLE at birth show a general improvement in Scotland over recent years.  The most recent annual estimates for Scotland are for boys born in 2014 to live 77.4 years on average, 60.3 of these in a 'healthy' state. Girls born in 2014 would be expected to live 81.4 years on average, 62.6 of these years being 'healthy'.

There is a major discontinuity in the HLE series between 2008 and 2009 due to a change in methodology to align with the European Union. This results in estimates of HLE at birth from 2009 onwards being over eight years lower for each sex. These new estimates form the start of a new time trend.

The chart below shows combined male and female LE (79.4 in 2014) and HLE (61.5 in 2013).

Combined Life Expectancy and Healthy Life Expectancy, 1980-2014















Improving HLE is part of the Scottish Government's Population purpose target. The latest information, including data behind the chart above, is available on the Scotland Performs web pages.

Source: NHS Information Services Division (ISD Scotland)

Further Information