Theme 5: Public health

Please note that the EU SDS has been replaced by the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). These pages as well as the indicator set for the SDS are no longer maintained or updated (last update May 2017) and only available in Englisch.

The EU Sustainable Development Strategy (EU SDS) sets out the objective of promoting good public health on equal conditions and improve protection against health threats.

Headline indicator Operational indicators Explanatory indicators

Healthy life years and life expectancy at birth, by sex  Excel file

Health and health inequalities
Death rate due to chronic diseases, by sex  Excel file  Suicide death rate, by age group  Excel file 

Self-reported unmet needs for medical care due to being too expensive, by income quintile  Excel file

People having a long-standing illness or health problem, by income quintile  Excel file
Determinants of health

Index of production of toxic chemicals, by toxicity class  Excel file 
Urban population exposure to air pollution, by particulate matter  Excel file 

Urban population exposure to air pollution, by ozone  Excel file 

Proportion of population living in households considering that they suffer from noise  Excel file 

Non-fatal accidents at work by sex (NACE rev. 2, A, C-N)  Excel file

Key trends (2015 monitoring)

The trends observed in public health generally show a mixed picture.

  • Girls born in the EU in 2013 could expect to live 83.3 years on average — 5.5 years more than boys. This is an improvement in life expectancy for both sexes. However, the number of healthy life years that girls or boys born in 2013 could expect to live has not changed compared with 2004.
  • Health inequalities between social groups persist, but evidence suggests that disproportionate health problems in different groups declined between 2004 and 2010.
  • Out of every 100 000 people in the EU, 129.9 died due to chronic diseases before the age of 65 in 2012. This is a fall of 21.0 % compared with 2002. Such premature deaths due to chronic diseases differ widely across the EU, especially for men.
  • Overall, the share of people reporting unmet needs for health care due to monetary constraints grew from 2.1 % in 2008 to 2.4 % in 2013. Inequalities between income groups persist as those in the lowest income quintile were more likely to report unmet medical needs.
  • Between 2005 and 2013 the share of people in the EU suffering from a long-standing illness or health problems increased slightly from 30.6 % to 32.4 %.
  • Between 2004 and 2013 the production volume of toxic chemicals fell by 13.8 %, from 234.0 million tonnes to 201.8 million tonnes.
  • There was an increase in the exposure to air pollution by very fine particulate matter (PM2.5) — the most hazardous to human health — from 14.3 micrograms per cubic metre in 2000 to 16.9 in 2012. In spite of the rise in PM2.5, overall exposure to air pollution by fine particulate matter (PM10) fell by 3.6 micrograms per cubic metre over the same period, with PM10 concentrations reaching 24.9 micrograms per cubic metre in 2012.
  • Overall urban exposure to air pollution by ozone rose by 550 micrograms per cubic metre between 2000 and 2012, reaching 3502 micrograms per cubic metre in 2012. However, the trend was volatile due to the influence of weather on ozone levels.
  • There was a drop in the share of the population inhabiting living quarters exposed to noise, from 21.9 % in 2008 to 19 % in 2013.

More information on the evaluation of changes for the EU Sustainable Development Indicators (EU SDIs) on public health is available on Statistics Explained: Sustainable development - public health.