Life expectancy inequality and social value

Life expectancy inequality and social value

One of the strongest indicators of progress within a society is life expectancy. If people’s lives are improving, in general they will live longer. Equally, life expectancy can highlight the stark difference in life experiences based just on where people live.

Our Principal Economist, Ken Chalk, outlines the key link between life expectancy inequality and social value. 

Living in the most deprived areas for men means living 9.7 years fewer than the least deprived areas (based on deprivation by decile data for England). For women, the gap is 7.9 years.

In addition to life expectancy (LE), healthy life expectancy (HLE) offers valuable insights by quantifying the number of years spent in good health. Notably, women residing in the most deprived areas are projected to experience a significant deficit of 19.3 years in terms of healthy life expectancy compared to those living in the least deprived areas. Similarly, men in the most deprived areas are expected to spend 18.6 fewer years in good health than their counterparts in the least deprived areas.



The graph clearly illustrates the significant influence of geographical location on life expectancy. Moreover, it highlights the consequential effect of location on the number of those years one can anticipate spending in good health.

Focusing on the more preventative side of healthcare, Loop’s National Social Value Standard (SVS) includes numerous metrics that can help measure outcomes that will directly impact health/life expectancy. Life expectancy is such a broad outcome that most metrics will have an impact in the same way they do on wellbeing.

Below are just some of the specific metrics that the SVS framework provides which can help improve health, wellbeing and life expectancy:


Social value can help address these inequalities by weighting impacts in a proportionate way to ensure inequality is taken account of. It is imperative that social value has a way of distinctly taking account of where impacts are made. Loop’s software and SVS framework is leading the way in this regard because it allows for weighting based on where the impact is and uses deprivation by decile data to weight specific impacts.

Alongside place of impact, who benefits from the impact is also important information to take account of. Different characteristics of individuals can lead to diverse lived experiences. Recognising this, the SVS framework currently incorporates the weighting of these different impacts for employment. That capability will be enhanced further in the upcoming annual SVS update where it will be applied across all metrics which have a group or individual focus. This is another example of a market leading improvement in the SVS framework.


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