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Measuring health inequalities: data and tools

LHO Health Inequalities website

London Health Observatory (LHO) is the national lead for health inequalities within the association of public health observatories (APHO). The LHO Health Inequalities website contains a useful Health Inequalities Overview as well as a “Local Basket of Indicators” tool and “Marmot Indicators for Local Authorities in England” to measure inequalities (described below).

Health Inequality Indicators for Local Authorities

This page gives access to data on health inequality in each local authority and county council in England. The statistic presented is the slope index of inequality in life expectancy, for males and for females. The Public Health Outcomes Framework, published on 20 December 2010, proposes the slope index of inequality in life expectancy within every local authority as one of the public health outcomes indicators for assessing health inequalities.

Marmot Indicators for Local Authorities in England

The London Health Observatory and the Marmot Review Team have produced baseline figures for some key indicators of the social determinants of health; health outcomes and social inequality that correspond, as closely as is currently possible, to the indicators proposed in Fair Society, Healthy Lives.

Local Basket of Inequalities Indicators

The Local Basket of Indicators provides a wide range of measures that can be used locally to track progress against local priorities for action on health inequalities. It is a collection of around 60 indicators within 13 broad areas such as education, crime, access to local health and other services, and older people. Data for local areas within England (e.g. Local Authorities, Primary Care Organisations and Local Education Authorities) are presented for each indicator.

Health Inequalities Intervention Toolkit

The existing Health Inequalities Intervention Tool for All Areas covers all local authorities in England, Spearhead and non-Spearhead, and provides information on within, as well as between, area inequalities.

The tool provides data on gaps in life expectancy between the most deprived quintile of each local authority and a range of comparator areas, including an analysis of the causes of death which contribute most to these gaps. This allows local authorities to estimate the effect on their life expectancy if certain interventions are increased.

Health Inequalities Interventions Toolkit - Life Expectancy Spearhead Tool

This resource outlines the diseases which result in a low life expectancy for the spearhead areas and models the effect of different interventions on the life expectancy gap, e.g. smoking cessation.

Health Inequalities Gap Measurement Tool 

The Health Inequalities Gap Measurement Tool for England (the ‘gap tool’) provides detailed information on the nature and extent of health inequalities across England. It shows inequality gaps in mortality rates within and between areas by grouping local populations according to relative levels of deprivation.

APHO Small Area Indicators for Joint Strategic Needs Assessment

APHO has published this set of indicators at MSOA level for use by organisations carrying out joint strategic needs assessment. The indicators include population estimates, mortality, hospitalisation, lifestyle and socio-economic data.

Measuring Health Inequalities: Part 5 of JSNA –The APHO resource Pack

This guidance on Measuring Health Inequalities explains how to:

  • Understand the terminology of inequality
  • Choose a suitable geographical unit of analysis
  • Display and interpret inequalities graphically
  • Calculate absolute and relative gaps
  • Interpret more sophisticated inequality measures

PAGE CREATED: 1 August 2009 | PAGE REVISED: 16 March 2011