Data shows improved well-being after COVID-19 pandemic, ONS reveals your region

Sub Levels


  • ONS uses 50 indicators to measure health across municipalities each year
  • Regional data reveals Blackpool was in the worst health condition in five years



Official figures today suggest England’s health has improved slightly in the second year of Covid-19.

But it is still below pre-pandemic levels.

Happiness, mental health and life satisfaction all worsened in the early days of COVID-19, with dozens of studies blaming the effects of lockdown restrictions.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) uses more than 50 indicators to measure health across 307 agencies in the country each year.

Results are geographically grouped and compared to the health version of GDP.

This figure shows the health status of the United Kingdom in 2021 using the ONS Health Index score. It shows a health score of 100.8 for England as a whole and scores for the Healthy People (97.7), Healthy Living (100.2) and Healthy Places (104.2) categories. The graphic also includes scores for 14 subcategories reflected in three categories, such as difficulties in daily life, mental health, and access to green space. Colored squares represent 56 indicators measured per subcategory, such as rates of self-harm, suicide, and mental health conditions, and indicate whether rates are the same as 2015 levels (grey) or worse (orange or red), good or (bright) blue or dark blue)
The ONS graph shows the five categories used to measure health in the UK and how they have changed in 2021 compared to 2020. Improvements were detected in physical health, well-being and mortality.
This graph shows three areas of the Health Index covering ‘Healthy People’, ‘Healthy Lives’ and ‘Healthy Places’.
Although overall levels are still below pre-pandemic levels, living conditions have increased steadily over the past three years.
Of England’s 307 municipalities, Blackpool (right) has the worst health status (77.7 points), according to the ONS.
At the other end of the scale, people in Harrogate are the healthiest (125.1)

What are the healthiest and least healthy areas in England?

The ONS assigned a ‘health score’ of 100 to all local governments in England in 2015 and has measured whether their health status has improved or deteriorated each year since.

56 indicators such as life satisfaction, cancer incidence and unemployment are measured and used as the basis of the analysis. The respective data are taken from public sources such as his previous ONS survey and government data.

Healthiest (Score 121-125)

Harrogate (124.9)

Rutland (124.6)

Elbridge (124.1)

Waverly (123.1)

Heart (122.9)

Attlesford (122.4)

Sally Heath (122.3)

Rochford (122)

Ribble Valley (121.9)

Horsham (121.9)

Least healthy (score 76-84)

Blackpool (76.5)

Kingston upon Hull (77.5)

Liverpool (79.9)

Middlesbrough (80.2)

Manchester (81.8)

Nottingham (82)

Knowsley (82.8)

Salford (83.5)

Leicester (83.6)

Portsmouth (83.8)

The increase, the report said, “may partially reflect the easing of lockdown restrictions and the availability of vaccines,” in addition to a decline in air pollution.

Blackpool has been named the most unhealthy neighborhood for the fifth year in a row.

Meanwhile, Harrogate is the healthiest, according to data gleaned from Gold Standard surveys and government statistics.

Interactive tools let you search for health scores in your area.

ONS assigns a ‘health score’ of 100 to all local governments in England and measures the same number each year.

56 indicators, including life satisfaction, cancer incidence, and unemployment rate, are evaluated.

These fall into three broad categories: healthy people, healthy lives, and healthy places.

The ONS said these indicators are based on the World Health Organization’s definition of health, which considers physical, mental and social well-being.

The results show a significant improvement in people’s health overall, an increase of 2.1 points.

A significant decline (4.1 points) was recorded in 2020, meaning 2021 is still well below pre-pandemic levels.

Last year, ONS analysts argued that the 2020 economic downturn would have been accelerated by the pandemic, which has had “significant impacts on many aspects of health.”

2021 saw significant improvements in personal well-being (7.5 points), mortality (1.6 points) and physical health (1.2 points).

Meanwhile, healthy living fell 1.2 percentage points, following a similar decline in 2020.

According to the ONS, Blackpool has the worst health status (76.5 points) among England’s 307 municipalities.

They are followed by Kingston Upon Hill (77.5), Liverpool (79.9) and Middlesbrough (80.2).

At the other end of the scale, people in Harrogate, North Yorkshire are the healthiest (124.9), followed by Rutland (124.6), Elbridge (124.1) and Waverley (123.1).

ONS chief statistician Greg Seeley said the index shows how the pandemic has affected many aspects of our health.

He noted that easing lockdown restrictions and widespread vaccine availability would likely help improve individual well-being, mortality and physical health.

“The Healthy Life Score, which measures the behaviors and conditions that affect our health, has declined further in 2021,” Seeley said.

“Meanwhile, the healthy places category has seen continued improvement, mainly due to a reduction in air pollution and household overcrowding.

“We will continue to collect and analyze data to better understand health trends in 2021 and beyond.

“In the meantime, we encourage everyone to try the Health Index online tool to explore how health has changed in your area.”



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