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Health inequalities statistics released

Published: 27 Oct 2015 09:30
Part of:

An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Scotland's Chief Statistician today announced the publication of the latest Long-term Monitoring of Health Inequalities: Headline Indicators report.

The gap in health outcomes between the most deprived and least deprived areas of Scotland is reported for a variety of indicators in absolute and relative terms, including mental wellbeing, healthy life expectancy and a range of morbidity and mortality indicators relating to alcohol, cancer and coronary heart disease.

Main findings

Health life expectancy

There have been no clear changes to inequalities in male or female healthy life expectancy (HLE) since 2009-2010.

In 2013-2014, male HLE at birth in the 10% most deprived areas in Scotland was 48.0 years, 24.3 years lower than in the least deprived areas (72.3 years). Female HLE at birth was 50.6 years in the most deprived areas in 2013-2014, 22.5 years lower than in the least deprived areas (73.1 years).

Premature mortality

The gap in premature mortality (deaths aged < 75) rates between most and least deprived areas has reduced every year since 2002.

Premature Mortality, Scotland 1997-2013

This is reflected by a reduction in the gap between the most and least deprived areas in coronary heart disease death rates and alcohol-related death rates (ages 45-74) over the same time period, although recent years have seen a widening of the gap in cancer death rates (ages 45-74 years).

Taking into account falling mortality rates over time, inequalities in premature mortality have widened in relative terms over the long term and have been stable since 2006.

Mental wellbeing

The gap in prevalence of below average wellbeing between those in the most deprived areas and least deprived areas has widened between 2008/2009 and 2012/2013.

In 2012/2013, adults in the most deprived areas were five times more likely to have below average wellbeing than those in the least deprived areas (26% compared to 6%), indicated by a score of 41 or lower on the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS).

The figures released today were produced in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Notes to editors

The full statistical publication is available at

A Ministerial Task Force on Health Inequalities was established in 2007 to identify and prioritise practical actions to reduce the most significant and widening health inequalities in Scotland. A technical advisory group set up in 2008 recommended a range of indicators on health inequalities to be monitored over time, and most recently met in July 2015 to review the list of indicators and methods. This publication updates those headline indicators.

Further information is available at:

Official statistics are produced in accordance with professional standards – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: