Disability-free Life Expectancies in Warwickshire

The Observatory has regularly published statistics on life expectancy in Warwickshire, and our Quality of Life reports have, over time, demonstrated how average lifespans have increased.  More recently, the analysis has started to consider the implications of these changes; one of the emerging themes has been the quality of these extra years of life gained, and we have also published figures on healthy life-expectancy to help inform this debate.

New experimental figures published by the Office for National Statistics consider disability-free life expectancy (DFLE).  DFLE is defined as an estimation of the length of time that an individual can expect to live free from a limiting long-standing illness or disability, and therefore adds a qualitative dimension to measures of life expectancy.  The new figures provide estimates at local authority district level, and the attached graphic illustrates the figures for Warwickshire in a national context.

At age 16, DFLE can vary by up to twenty years amongst different local authority areas.  For example, females aged 16 living in Knowsley (Merseyside) have a DFLE of 41.7 years, compared with 60.2 years for those living in Tandridge (Surrey).  There are also differences locally, demonstrated in the graphic.  This type of data can help those commissioning services such as social care and health to understand where resources are likely to be needed most.

The ONS research has also established a significant link between DFLE and deprivation, with people living in more deprived areas likely to have significantly lower disability-free life expectancies than those people living in relatively less deprived areas.

The full ONS study can be accessed here (see page 40). Our illustration can be viewed here.

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