• Led by University College London’s Epidemiology and Public Health department, in conjunction with University of Leeds Geography and the International Longevity Centre UK.
  • A research project focusing on whether the proportion of older individuals in a place with good health is associated with better labour market-related social and economic outcomes in those places.
  • Will identify what concepts and metrics of health are appropriate in trying to measure the health of an older population in a given place.

Evidence shows that older people who live in more deprived areas are more likely to retire early and/or take up a disability pension. The health of people who live in these places has been cited as one of the main reasons for these geographic differences in outcomes after leaving employment.

This suggests that if a higher proportion of people in a place had better health, those older people would be able to stay in the labour market for longer, and local economies would benefit economically and socially from the extended working lives of residents.

However, there is lack of understanding of just how policy makers should go about ‘improving’ older people’s health so that they can remain in work. Most extended working lives policies focus on intervening on ‘unhealthy’ individuals, regardless of where they live.

This project by University College London will investigate whether a place-based approach could be a more effective method of intervention.

The research will look at what we mean by a ‘healthy’ person, what geographic scale interventions should be targeted at, and why we see improvements in the health of a place (ie is the health of the pre-existing population actually improving or have more healthy people moved in and/or unhealthy people moved out?).

An evidence review will look at which concepts and metrics of health are appropriate to measure the health of the older population in a given place, and UK census data will be used to investigate a series of analytical questions.

Project findings will be shared with key stakeholders to inform national public health and economic policy.

Contact information

For more information, please contact Dr Emily T Murray, Senior Research Fellow, University College London.

Further reading

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March 2018
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