When health issues impact daily life


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Logo Statistics ExplainedIn 2016, nearly a quarter (24.1%) of persons aged 16 and over living in the European Union (EU) reported that they had problems carrying out their usual activities due to long-standing health problems. Of those, 16.7% reported that they had some long-standing limitations and 7.4% that they had severe long-standing limitations*.

In the EU, men (21.7%) were less likely than women (26.2%) to report that they suffered from long-standing, health-related limitations. This was the case in all of the Member States.

Highest share in Latvia and Austria, lowest in Sweden and Malta

Over a third of the population aged 16 or over in Latvia (37.4%) and Austria (34.2%) reported that their health limited their ability to carry out their usual activities. Portugal (33.0%), Finland (32.8%), Estonia and Croatia (both 32.3%) as well as Slovenia (31.2%) all had shares over 30%.

At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest share of people reporting long-standing limitations to their lives due to health problems were recorded in Sweden (12.5%) and Malta (12.9%), ahead of Cyprus (16.0%), Bulgaria (16.2%) and Ireland (16.5%).


Lons standing limitations in usual activities due to health problems, 2016 (%)

The source dataset can be found here.


The higher the income, the less health-related limitations reported

The prevalence of self-reported, long-standing limitations appears to reduce progressively as income increases. While over 30% of the EU population with the lowest income (those classified in the first income quintile group) reported long-standing limitations, this share almost halved (17%) among the population with the highest income (in the fifth income quintile group).

Please see the detailed Statistics Explained article on functional and activity limitations for further information.

* Long-standing limitations refer to a restriction in participating in activities that people usually do because of health problems for at least 6 months. Severe long-standing limitations: performing an activity cannot be done at all or only with extreme difficulty. Some long-standing limitations: performing an activity can be done but only with some difficulties.

For more information please contact us: estat-user-support@ec.europa.eu.