Health status

Being in good health is an important determinant of quality of life and also contributes to other well-being dimensions, such as being able to pursue education, have a job, and participate in the activities that people value. In 55% of OECD regions life expectancy at birth, a common measure of health outcomes, now exceeds 80 years. The lowest levels of life expectancy, below 75 years, are found in 30 regions. The difference in life expectancy among OECD countries is 8 years (between Japan and Mexico). Within countries, it is 11 years between British Columbia and Nunavut in Canada, and 6 years between the Capital Territory and the Northern Territory in Australia, or Hawaii and Mississipi in the United States (Figure 1.16).

On average, women live longer than men in every OECD region; a woman can expect to live almost six years longer than a man. These differences are the largest in Aysén (Chile), Lodzkie (Poland) and Chihuahua (Mexico). In non-OECD regions like Nenets Okrug (Russia) and Group Amazon (Colombia), women live for more than 15 and 10 additional years, respectively (Figure 1.17).

The mortality rate is also a common indicator of a population’s health status. When comparing values across countries and regions, mortality rates are adjusted for age to remove differences solely due to a population’s age profile. Regional differences in age-adjusted mortality rates within countries were the widest in New Zealand, Canada, United States, Portugal and Australia (Figure 1.18). In 2013, the age-adjusted mortality rate in Gisborne (New Zealand), Nunavut (Canada), Mississippi (United States), Azores (Portugal) and the Northern Territory (Australia) was at least 40% higher than their country averages.


Life expectancy at birth measures the number of years a new born can expect to live, if death rates in each age group stay the same during her or his lifetime.

Age-adjusted mortality rates eliminate the difference in mortality rates due to a population’s age profile and are comparable across countries and regions. Age-adjusted mortality rates are calculated by applying the age-specific death rates of one region to the age distribution of a standard population. In this case the standard population is the population grouped into five year age brackets, averaged over all OECD regions.


OECD (2015), OECD Regional Statistics (database),

See Annex B for data sources and country-related metadata. United States: Life Expectancy, Measure of America 2010-2011,

Reference years and territorial level

2013; TL2. Estonia TL3.

Life expectancy: no regional data are available for Iceland.

Japan and United States, 2010; Canada, 2011; Chile, 2012.

Mortality rates: Australia, Chile and Mexico, 2012.

Further information

OECD Regional Well-Being:

Figure notes

 1.17: Each observation (point) represents a TL2 region of the countries shown in the vertical axis, TL3 region in Estonia and Latvia.

Information on data for Israel:

1.16. Difference in life expectancy at birth among regions and country life expectancy (years), 2013

1.17. Regional gender differences in life expectancy at birth (female-male), 2013

1.18. Regional variation in age-adjusted mortality rates, 2013