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Projections of healthy working life expectancy in England to the year 2035

Bucknall; Lynch; Wilkie



UK state pension age is rising in response to life expectancy gains but population health and job opportunities may not be sufficient to achieve extended working lives1,2,3. This study aimed to estimate future trends in healthy working life expectancy (HWLE) from age 50 to 75 for men and women in England. Using the ‘intercensal’ health expectancy approach, annual period HWLE from 1996 to 2014 was estimated using cross-sectional Health Survey for England data and mortality statistics4,5,6,7. HWLE projections until the year 2035 were estimated from Lee–Carter forecasts of transition rates8. Projections of life expectancy from age 50 showed gains averaging 10.7 weeks (0.21 years) and 6.4 weeks (0.12 years) per calendar year between 2015 and 2035 for men and women respectively. HWLE has been extending in England but gains are projected to slow to an average of 1 week per year for men (0.02 years) and 2.8 weeks (0.05 years) per year for women between 2015 and 2035. Modest projected HWLE gains and the widening gap between HWLE and life expectancy from age 50 suggest that working lives are not extending in line with policy goals. Further research should identify factors that increase healthy working life.


Wilkie, Bucknall, & Lynch. (2022). Projections of healthy working life expectancy in England to the year 2035.

Acceptance Date Dec 6, 2021
Publication Date Jan 20, 2022
Journal Nature Aging
Print ISSN Nature Research
Pages 13 - 18
Publisher URL