Life expectancy is an important indicator of overall population health, and inequalities in health.
Nationally, life expectancy figures are prepared by the Office for National Statistics and used to assess and set a number of important health related policies and initiatives that impact on everyday life. Projected life expectancies are used in the process for setting the State Pension Age whilst subnational life expectancies are used to assess inequality between different parts of country and different population groups.
Life expectancy at birth is the average number of years a baby born can be expected to live for if they experienced today’s age-specific death rates for the rest of their life.
Life expectancy in Bolton (2018-20)
Male Life Expectancy (Years)
Female Life Expectancy (Years)
North West Region
North West Region
Trends in Life Expectancy
A recent report by the Kind’s Fund describes two "turning points" in trends in life expectancy in England in the past decade.
From 2011, increases in life expectancy slowed after decades of steady improvement, prompting much debate about the causes. Then in 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic was a more significant turning point, causing a sharp fall in life expectancy the magnitude of which has not been seen since World War II. (TheKingsFund, 2021)
For both males and females living in Bolton, life expectancy at birth has been consistently below the national average since 2001. This trend appeared to be improving over time, however recent years data suggests the gap in life expectancy between Bolton and England seems to be widening.
Life Expectancy has improved over time in England as a whole which is reflected in the life expectancy rates seen at local authority level, however the most recent trend in life expectancy has been one of decline. The impact of Covid-19 is seen in the reduction in life exectancy in the very latest data.
Inequalities in life expectancy
The link between disadvantage and life expectancy is well documented. People living in more affluent areas live significantly longer than people living in deprived areas.
Nationally, in 2018 to 2020 the difference in life expectancy (LE) at birth between the least and most deprived areas in England, as measured by the Slope Index of Inequality (SII), was 9.2 years for males and 7.6 years for females; the gap has remained constant for males but a small increase was observed for females since 2014 to 2016.
Females and males living in the least deprived areas of England saw a significant increase in life expectancy between 2014 to 2016 and 2017 to 2019; in the most deprived areas no significant changes were observed. (ONS, 2021)
When looking at life expectancy based on mid-year population estimates using data aggregated over a three-year period, Bolton remains significantly worse than England for both females and males.
Variation in Life Expectancy for small areas within Bolton
Within Bolton, life expectancy varies by 14.9 years for males and 9.9 years for females between small areas (MSOAs) in the borough (2016-20 data). The lowest life expectancy at birth for males living in Bolton (at MSOA level) can be found in Bolton 016 (Central Bolton), where males are expected to live till 70.3 years; the highest male life expectancy is in Bolton 001 (Dunscar & Egerton) at 85.2 years. For females, the lowest life expectancy is to be found in Bolton 013 (Breightmet North) at 77.1 years; the highest female life expectancy is in Bolton 001 (Dunscar & Egerton) at 87.0 years.