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Indicator Metadata

NameLife Expectancy at Birth
Short/Other Names

Not applicable

DescriptionNumber of years a person would be expected to live, starting at birth, if the age- and sex-specific mortality rates for a given reference period were held constant over his or her life span
InterpretationA higher life expectancy is considered an indicator of better overall health of the population.
HSP Framework Dimension

Health System Outcomes: Improve health status of Canadians

Areas of Need

Not applicable

Geographic Coverage

All provinces/territories

Reporting Level/Disaggregation

International, National, Province/Territory, Region, Neighbourhood Income Quintile

Indicator Results

Accessing Indicator Results on Your Health System: In Depth

Identifying Information
NameLife Expectancy at Birth
Short/Other Names

Not applicable

Indicator Description and Calculation
DescriptionNumber of years a person would be expected to live, starting at birth, if the age- and sex-specific mortality rates for a given reference period were held constant over his or her life span
Calculation: Description

Cumulative number of person-years lived, divided by the number of live births in the initial cohort

A period life table approach is used, applying the age- and sex-specific mortality rates for a given reference period to a hypothetical cohort.

Life tables are usually constructed separately for men and women because of their different mortality rates.

Calculation: Geographic Assignment

Place of residence

Calculation: Type of Measurement

Average or mean

Calculation: Adjustment Applied

None

Calculation: Method of Adjustment

Not applicable

Denominator

Description:
Number of persons in an initial cohort of 100,000 live births

Numerator

Description:
Cumulative number of person-years lived, for a cohort of 100,000 persons

Age- and sex-specific mortality rates corresponding to the reference period are applied to a hypothetical cohort, typically of 100,000. Starting at birth, the probability of dying at each age or age interval is applied to the number of people surviving to that age or the beginning of the age interval, respectively.
Exclusions:
1. Rates used by Statistics Canada to calculate life expectancy are calculated with data that excludes the following:

a. Births to mothers who are not residents of Canada

b. Births to mothers who are residents of Canada whose province or territory of residence was unknown

c. Deaths of non-residents of Canada

d. Deaths of residents of Canada whose province or territory of residence was unknown

e. Deaths for which age or sex of the decedent was unknown

Background, Interpretation and Benchmarks
Rationale

Used worldwide, life expectancy at birth is understood as a measure of the general health of a population. By definition, life expectancy is affected by age- and sex-specific mortality rates in a particular reference period.

Interpretation

A higher life expectancy is considered an indicator of better overall health of the population.

HSP Framework Dimension

Health System Outcomes: Improve health status of Canadians

Areas of Need

Not applicable

Targets/Benchmarks

Not applicable

References

Goodyear M, Malhotra N. Life-tables and their demographic applications. http://www.healthknowledge.org.uk/public-health-textbook/health-information/3a-populations/life-tables-demographic-applications. Updated 2007. Accessed September 13, 2016.

Martel L, Provost M, Lebel A, Coulombe S, Sherk A. Methods for Constructing Life Tables for Canada, Provinces and Territories, Catalogue No.84-538-X. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Industry; 2012. http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/bsolc/olc-cel/olc-cel?catno=84-538-X&lang=eng. Accessed September 13, 2016.

Public Health Agency of Canada Steering Committee on Health-Adjusted Life Expectancy. Health-Adjusted Life Expectancy in Canada. Ottawa, ON: Public Health Agency of Canada; 2012.

Statistics Canada. Health Indicators Definitions and Data Sources, Catalogue No. 82-221-XIE. 2000. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-221-x/4060874-eng.htm. Accessed September 13, 2016.

Statistics Canada. Life Tables, Canada, Provinces and Territories, 2007 to 2009. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Industry; 2012. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/84-537-x/84-537-x2013003-eng.pdf. Accessed September 13, 2016.

Availability of Data Sources and Results
Data Sources

Demography division, Statistics Canada, OECD, Vital Statistics - Death Database, Statistics Canada

Available Data Years

Type of Year:
Calendar
First Available Year:
2000
Last Available Year:
2009

Geographic Coverage

All provinces/territories

Reporting Level/Disaggregation

International, National, Province/Territory, Region, Neighbourhood Income Quintile

Result Updates
Update Frequency

Every year

Indicator Results

Web Tool:
Your Health System: In Depth
URL:
Accessing Indicator Results on Your Health System: In Depth

Updates

Not applicable

Quality Statement
Caveats and Limitations

This indicator does not provide information on the individual causes of deaths or on quality of life.

The data is based on 2011 health region boundaries.

Data may not be available for Manitoba regional health authorities due to changes in regional boundaries that have occurred since 2011.

Data may not be available for Nova Scotia regional health authorities due to changes in regional boundaries that have occurred since 2014.

Data may not be available for B.C. regional health authorities as the data for some indicators is available at only the health service delivery area level.

Trending Issues

The methods for estimating mortality and death probability at advanced ages were changed to better acknowledge characteristics of death in advanced ages, particularly in terms of small sample sizes. These changes apply to the construction of life tables for the period 2005 to 2007 onward. The impact of these changes on life expectancy for Canada as a whole is minimal, with a difference of 0.07 years.

National estimates are available in 10-year intervals starting in 1920 and annually starting in 1979. Provincial/territorial estimates are available annually from 1979 to 2006. Separate estimates for Nunavut and the Northwest Territories are available annually from 1999 to 2006. From 1979 to 1999, estimates are available for the two territories combined as "Northwest Territories including Nunavut."

Estimates based on three years of pooled data are available at the provincial level from 1992 to 1994 onward; however, the territories are presented as a group for the period between 1992 to 1994 and 1997 to 1999.

Estimates based on three years of pooled data are available at the regional level from 2000 to 2002 forward.

Comments

Life expectancy does not provide information about the quality of life. Other measures have been developed using a composite of morbidity and mortality data. For example, health-adjusted life expectancy (HALE) is the average number of years that an individual is expected to live in a healthy state (PHAC, 2012).


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