Health expectancy

The data in this indicator is no longer being updated.

Stats NZ is developing well-being indicators, Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand - Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa, to track New Zealand’s progress. As the well-being indicators have similar aims to the NZ Progress Indicators and NZ Social Indicators, we are reviewing the future of these existing indicators.

Please contact us at if you have any questions.

Positive change

Between 1996 and 2013, health expectancy at birth increased 0.1 years for females and 1.4 years for males

  • Image, health expectancy
    • Health expectancy at birth increased steadily for all females between 1996 and 2013, from 66.4 years to 66.5 years.
    • Health expectancy for all males increased over the same period, from 63.8 years to 65.2 years, closing the gender gap most rapidly between 2006 and 2013.
    • Changes in health expectancy occur over long timeframes.


    Note: This graph is interactive. Hover over the data points to see the exact values. Click legend text to hide or show variables. 

    View source data

    The source data for this indicator is available from Independent Life Expectancy in New Zealand 2013 on the Ministry of Health website.

    Definition and measure

    Health expectancy is an estimate of the average number of years a person will live without requiring assistance with everyday activities. A good standard of health contributes to quality of life and enables people to participate in society and the economy.

    Health expectancy is measured by independent life expectancy at birth. This is defined as the 'expectation of life without the need for assistance from another person or a complex assistive device (whether daily or intermittently)'.

    Independent life expectancy is a summary measure of the population’s health as it combines both mortality and morbidity.

    Technical changes since 2010

    The health expectancy indicator uses data which differs slightly from previously published estimates. Statistics New Zealand is now using new population weights to make the data more comparable across years. The 1996 data also include residential cases that have been left out in previous estimates.

    Previous publications

    Key findings on New Zealand's progress using a sustainable development approach: 2010
    Measuring New Zealand's progress using a sustainable development approach: 2008
    Key findings on New Zealand's progress using a sustainable development approach: 2008

    Page updated December 2015

  • Share this page
  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+