Healthy life years (1995 - 2003) (hlth_hlye_h)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)

For any question on data and metadata, please contact: Eurostat user support


1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

1.2. Contact organisation unit

F5: Education, health and social protection

1.5. Contact mail address

2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 01/07/2015
2.2. Metadata last posted 01/07/2015
2.3. Metadata last update 01/07/2015

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

The indicator of healthy life years measures the number of remaining years that a person of specific age (at birth and at 65) is expected to live without any severe or moderate health problems. The indicator is also called disability-free life expectancy (DFLE).

It is a composite indicator that combines mortality data with data referring to a health indicator, such as disability.

Healthy life years also monitor health as a productive or economic factor. An increase in healthy life years is one of the main goals for European health policy. And it would not only improve the situation of individuals but also it would result in lower levels of public healthcare expenditure. If healthy life years are increasing more rapidly than life expectancy, it means that people are living longer and free from health problems.

3.2. Classification system

There are no special classifications for data set produced.

3.3. Coverage - sector

The main economic sectors for data produced are not specified.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

Health expectancies are calculated following the Sullivan's method and provide the number of years in a good health which a person can still expect to live.

The indicator is based on a life table and observed prevalence of the population in healthy or unhealthy conditions. For the detailed description of the calculation, please refer to the Annex called "METHOD".

3.5. Statistical unit

Statistical observations are individuals.

3.6. Statistical population

The whole EU population is covered.

3.7. Reference area

European Union, EU Member States.

3.8. Coverage - Time


3.9. Base period

There is no base of an index number to which data refer.

4. Unit of measure Top
  • Number of years for Healthy Life Years at birth and at 65 for female and male population.
  • Number of years for Life Expectancy at birth and at 65 for female and male population.
  • Healthy life years at birth and at 65 for female and male population expressed in percentage of the appropriate total life expectancy.

5. Reference Period Top

Reference year is defined as the calendar year.

6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements
  • Communication to the Commission on 14/10/2004, Point II-8:
    "According to the EU Sustainable Development Strategy and the 6th Environmental Action Plan, and as requested by the Council conclusions of December 8, 2003, indicators on biodiversity and health need to be included in the structural indicators database. Indicators of Healthy Life Years (healthy life expectancy at birth: two gender breakdowns) are added to the database. The indicator looks at the number of years that a person can expect to live in a good health, which is closely related to factors such as ageing, productivity/capacity to work and healthcare expenditure."
  • Commission COM (2004) 0029 of 21/01/2004 - report from the Commission to the Spring European Council delivering Lisbon reforms for the enlarged Union: set as priority to examine possibilities for integrating Public Health into the Lisbon strategy by 2005, as a contribution to growth & sustainable development.
    The Commission Communication COM (2003) 585 final of 08/10/2003 on structural indicators recommends to develop an indicator to measure Healthy Life Years.
  • Decision 2367/2002/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 16 December 2002 on the Community statistical programme 2003 to 2007.
  • Decision No 1786/2002EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 September 2002 adopting a programme of Community action in the field of public health (2003-2008), OJEC L 271/10
6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

There is no common data production.

7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

There are no special rules applied for treating the data set.

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

March/N+2; (N = year of data collection).

8.2. Release calendar access

Information upon request.

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see item 10 - 'Accessibility and clarity') respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top


10. Accessibility and clarity Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

News releases on-line.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

Health in Europe. Data 1998-2003 (pocketbook)

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Please consult free data on-line or refer to contact details.

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Micro-data are not disseminated.

10.5. Dissemination format - other

10.6. Documentation on methodology

See methodological description on DFLE and footnotes on estimations under the Annexes at the bottom of this page.

10.7. Quality management - documentation

We don't collect national quality reports concerning mortality and health data.

11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

Please consult the quality assurance in European Statistics Code of Practice.

11.2. Quality management - assessment
Any fluctuations in mortality data and health data may have an impact on the Healthy life years.

12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs
  • Institutional users like other Commission services, particularly DG SANTE and DG EMPL.
  • Statistical users in Eurostat or in Member States National Statistical Institutes to feed sectorial or transversal publications such as the Annual Progress Report on the Lisbon Strategy (structural indicators), the Sustainable Development Strategy monitoring report, the Eurostat yearbook and various pocketbooks, among other reports;
  • End users - including the media - interested in public health in the EU.
12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

We don't have any user satisfaction survey.

12.3. Completeness

Refer to the points 3.4 and 3.7, please.

13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

Institutional households are not included in the ECHP itself. However, it is assumed that the population living in the private households covered by ECHP is representative for the total population. Simulation carried out by Eurostat has shown that the effect of this assumption for the indicator HLY at birth is very limited and not significant.

13.2. Sampling error

Not applicable for the calculation of HLY indicator.

13.3. Non-sampling error

Not applicable for the calculation of HLY indicator.

14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

Not applicable.

14.2. Punctuality

Not applicable.

15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

The HLY indicator is calculated using the same method (Sullivan's) for all countries. Comparable data are available for EU-15 countries (except LU), due to the fact that ECHP uses standardized design and common technical and implementation procedures across countries.

The comparability of the data across countries is limited by the cultural differences from country to country. Therefore, the questions on the existence of disabilities might be interpreted differently from a country to another one, i.e. the prevalence might differ between countries whereas there is no real difference in the health levels between those countries. Another problem is the fact that data about prevalence of disability for Germany and the UK come from original surveys adapted to the ECHP format.

As there are no common survey instruments and methodology in the new Member States, comparability among them as well as between them and the EU-15 Member States is restricted.

15.2. Comparability - over time

Results for the period 1995-2001 are comparable and the extrapolation over 2002 and 2003 ensures a similar comparability for the estimated values for these two years. Actually, the restrictions on the comparability across countries until 2003 data apply on the "level" of the Healthy Life Years but not on the evolution of the indicator.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain
  • Mortality and life expectancy in demographic statistics.
  • Statistics on limitation in functioning or disability (Health status statistics on disability): source (ECHP 1995-2001 and extrapolations 2002-2003).
15.4. Coherence - internal

The statistical outputs are consistent.

16. Cost and Burden Top

We don't collect reports describing costs for production of statistical data and of the burden on respondent.

17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

There is no systematic revision of the data. A revision occurs when previous missing values are available and replace the estimated/provisional ones which were used in the calculation or when Eurostat is notified about a change in the data.

17.2. Data revision - practice

Not future revision of the 1995 - 2003 series.

18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data
  1. For the mortality part: demography statistics.
  2. For the health part (data on limitations in functioning / disability):

For EU15 (excl. LU):

  • The ECHP survey 1995-2001 (extrapolated from a national source for DE and UK)
  • Estimation for 2002 and 2003 on the basis of the trend 1995-2001 (high inertia in limitations / disability levels)
  • For the new MS & EFTA countries: national sources are used when comparable - only 6 countries: CZ, HU, CY, MT, PL, NO.
  • National surveys (CZ, HU, CY, MT, PL, 1996).
  • Population census (PL, 2002).
  • Pilot SILC (NO, 2003). 
18.2. Frequency of data collection


18.3. Data collection

Methodology of collecting data is included in the metadata pages of mortality and health status statistics.

18.4. Data validation
  • Consult data validation procedures in the metadata pages of mortality and health status statistics.
  • Experts from the International Network on Health Expectancy and the Disability Process (Euro-REVES) use the same methodology for calculating the healthy life years indicator and their results are compared with the ones of Eurostat.
18.5. Data compilation

The aggregation level depends on the availability of data. With the ECHP data only the EU-15 aggregate is calculated

18.6. Adjustment

To find statistical procedures used for adjusting the data, please refer to dedicated sections of mortality and health status statistics.

19. Comment Top

For comparability issues, search in the Annex.

Related metadata Top
ilc_esms - Income and living conditions
demo_mor_esms - Mortality (national level)

Annexes Top