Life expectancy

Life Expectancy at Birth

Life expectancy is an important indicator of a population’s 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.

Locally, we use life expectancy at birth as an indicator of the overall health of the population and to analyse inequalities in health.

Life expectancy at birth is the average number of years a baby born can be expected to live for if he or she experienced today’s age-specific death rates for the rest of his or her life. 

Male Life Expectancy (Years) Female Life Expectancy (Years)
England 78.7 England 82.6
North West Region 77.0 North West Region 81.0
Bolton 76.4 Bolton 80.2

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. 

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 2017 to 2019 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 9.4 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. Bolton residents experience lower than average life expectancy. Life expectancy for men Bolton is 77.3, 2 years shorter than England; and for women 81.1, also 2 years shorter than England (2018-20).

Variation in Life Expectancy for small areas within Bolton (2015-19 estimates)

Within Bolton, life expectancy varies by 13.5 years for males and 10 years for females (2015-19) between small areas (MSOAs) in the borough.

The lowest life expectancy for males living in Bolton at MSOA level, can be found in Bolton 016 (Central Bolton), where males are expected to live till 70.8 years; the highest male life expectancy is in Bolton 001 (Dunscar & Egerton) at 84.3 years, 13.5 years longer.

Female life expectancy in Bolton is higher than for males, with the highest being in Bolton 001 (Dunscar & Egerton) at 86.8 years. Females living in Bolton 010 (Hall I' th' Wood), is 10 years lower, with their life expectancy being 76.8 years.

Life Expectancy data for Bolton

See the variations in life expectancy along popular bus routes in Bolton here: Life expectancy along bus routes (

The latest data from ONS on Life expectancy by census ward (