National Records of Scotland

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Further Information

Further Information

6.1 National Life Expectancy at Birth

6.1.1 The Government Actuary’s Department (GAD) has produced national life tables for the United Kingdom and constituent countries, which give statistics on expectation of life. Every ten years GAD has produced a set of graduated (smoothed) life tables for Scotland. In addition, each year ungraduated interim life tables have been produced for Scotland, based on data for a period of three consecutive calendar years. These latter, 'Interim Life Tables', are available for 1980-1982 to 2002-2004 from their website. Responsibility for the production of national life expectancy figures for the United Kingdom and its constituent countries transferred from GAD to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 31 January 2006.

6.1.2 Because of the differences between complete (single year of age) and abridged (grouped years) life tables, the Scotland level figures presented in this report may differ slightly from those published by GAD. A detailed description of the standard methods and notation associated with 'Interim life tables methodology' can be found on the GAD website.

6.1.3 Period life expectancies are worked out using the age-specific mortality rates for a given period (either a single year, or a run of years), with no allowance for any later actual or projected changes in mortality. GAD also publishes ‘cohort’ life expectancies for selected ages. Cohort life expectancies are worked out using age-specific mortality rates which allow for known or projected changes in mortality in later years. More information on 'Period and cohort expectation of life' can be found on the GAD website.

6.1.4 ONS intends to publish Scotland level interim life tables for 2003-2005 in November 2006. Provisional figures for 2003-2005 are available in Section 5: Deaths of the 'Vital Events Reference Tables 2005' which go with 'Scotland's Population 2005 - The Registrar General's Annual Review of Demographic Trends'.

6.2 Life Expectancy for Scottish Administrative Areas

6.2.1 The first publication dedicated to life expectancy, titled 'Life expectancy for administrative areas within Scotland, 2002-2004', produced by National Records of Scotland (NRS) on 6 October 2005, is available from this website.

6.2.2 Life expectancy information for Council and NHS Board areas within Scotland from 1991-1993 to 2001-2003 is available on the National Statistics website, published on 15 October 2004.  The publication, 'Life expectancy at birth by health and local authorities in the United Kingdom 1991-1993 to 2002-2004' also contains life expectancy results for local and health authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

6.2.3 A report, 'Life expectancy at birth: methodological options for small populations', details the research undertaken by ONS to compare methodologies for calculating of life expectancy figures and confidence intervals is available from the National Statistics website.

6.3 Other related data

6.3.1 Information on 'Healthy life expectancy in Scotland' was published in March 2004 by the Information and Statistics Division (ISD) of the NHS. Healthy life expectancy is defined as the number of years people can expect to live in good health. The difference between healthy and life expectancy indicates the length of time people can expect to spend in poor health.

6.4 Other data available from the National Records of Scotland

6.4.1 Estimates on the resident population of Scotland are prepared by the National Records of Scotland each year. These are available by sex and single year of age for Council and NHS Board areas, together with historical data. Information is also available on a wide range of related topics such as small area population estimates, population projections, migration estimates and data from the 2001 and earlier Censuses.


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