Wales

Longstanding illness/disability

Graphs on this page:

Supporting information:

Key points

  • At all ages, adults in routine and manual occupational groups are somewhat more likely to have a limiting longstanding illness than those from other occupational groups.  So, for example, in the 35-59 age group: the proportion ranges from 17% of those in managerial and professional occupations to 28% for those in routine and manual occupations.
  • Just over half of the small local areas with the highest levels of limiting longstanding illness among the working-age population (above 25%) are in the Valleys.  In general, these small areas are concentrated towards the north of these local authorities.
  • Just over half of the small areas within the local authority of Merthyr Tydfil have rates of limiting longstanding illness in excess of 25%.  Apart from Torfaen, the other Valley local authorities have a third or more of their small areas with rates in excess of 25%.
  • Small areas with rates of limiting longstanding illness in excess of 25% are found in every local authority in Wales.  Apart from the Valleys, the only authorities with a disproportionately high share of these small areas are Carmarthenshire, Swansea and Bridgend which between them contain a further fifth of these areas.
  • Outside of the local authorities already mentioned, high number of small areas in the top 25% also occur in Cardiff, Newport, Rhyl, Wrexham, Barry, Abergele and Colwyn Bay.
  • Limiting longstanding illness is also not restricted to towns either.  Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Anglesey contain many rural areas with above average levels of illness.  So too does much of the coastal strip in the north from Conwy to Flint.
  • Among local authority districts, the proportion of the working-age population with a limiting longstanding illness varies from 27% in Merthyr Tydfil to 14% in Monmouthshire.
  • Six of the seven local authorities with rates in excess of 20% are in the Valleys, Carmarthenshire being the other local authority area in this group.
  • At 18%, limiting longstanding illness among the working-age population is higher in Wales than in Northern Ireland, Scotland or any of the English regions.
  • Those local authorities with a relatively high proportion of working-age people with a limiting longstanding illness have a relatively high proportion at all age groups.  Ditto those with a relatively low proportion.  So, for example, Merthyr Tydfil has the highest proportion with a limiting longstanding illness for both the 16-49 and 50-59 age groups, and Monmouthshire has the lowest proportion both age groups.

Definitions and data sources

The first graph shows the proportion of adults self-reporting a limiting long-standing illness by age band (16-34, 35-59 and 60+) and social class.  To improve its statistical reliability, the data is the average for the latest three years.

The data source for the first graph is the Welsh Health Survey (WHS).  The social classes are the National Statistics Socio-economic Classification (NS-SEC) introduced for all official statistics and surveys since 2001.  The ‘never worked and long-term unemployed’ social class is not included in the graph because of its small sample sizes.

The second graph shows how the proportion of working-age people self-reporting a limiting long-standing illness varies by local authority.

The third graph shows how the proportion of working-age people self-reporting a limiting long-standing illness in Wales compares with the rest of the United Kingdom.

For each of the 10,000 ‘output areas’ in Wales, the map shows the proportion of adults aged 16 to 59 self-reporting a limiting long-standing illness.

‘Output areas’ are a small area geography defined by the Office of National Statistics for analysing data at a small area level.  They have been defined so that they have roughly equal populations.

Only output areas with an above-average proportion are shaded, with the darkest shade being the sixth of output areas with the highest proportions, the next shade being the second sixth and the lightest shade being the third sixth.

The data source for the second and third graphs plus the map is the 2001 Census (tables so016 and so024 for England and Wales, S16 for Scotland and S016 for Northern Ireland).

Overall adequacy of the indicator: medium.  The question in both WHS and the Census is the usually accepted way of measuring the prevalence of limiting long-standing illness.  However, the absence of data about household income in WHS limits the analyses that are possible.