‘Life expectancy’ measures how many years, on average, a person of a given age can expect to live if current death rates do not change. While life expectancy is an important indicator of population health, people’s health and wellbeing are also increasingly being considered in terms of their quality of life and functional status—with the key question being whether longer life is being exchanged for lower quality of life.

An indication of this can be provided using ‘health expectancies’. ‘Health expectancies’ is a general term used to describe, within a person’s life expectancy, the expected years spent in various health states—in this case the estimated years spent living with and without disability.