New Research Reveals England’s Unhealthiest Areas

  • Blackpool scores lowest on ONS’ official health index from the latest health index
  • Manchester and Hull take second and third respectively

Research has revealed the UK’s unhealthiest areas, with Blackpool coming out on top.

A new study by fitness experts BarBend analyzed a recent release from the Office for National Statistics, which scored every local authority in England on a number of factors for physical health, mental health, and fitness, and more compared to the national average (100) to see which areas were the most unhealthy.

It found that Blackpool is England’s unhealthiest area. It scored a low 87.82 healthy people score; an 88.24 healthy lives score, and a 98.24 health places score which combined gives an overall health score of 91.43. Blackpool’s low healthy people score comes with a low life expectancy score of 75.72 and a low avoidable mortality score of 72.38. The area’s low healthy lives score comes from poor scores like 80.24 for alcohol misuse and 83.58 for healthy eating.

Manchester comes in second place, with an overall score of 92.53. This is due to a healthy people score of 90.38, healthy lives score of 91.24, and a healthy places score of 95.96. The healthy people score is low due to things like a low life expectancy score of 79.86 and avoidable mortality coming in at: 74.54. The 91.24 healthy lives rating is due to things like a disappointing child obesity score of 84.64 when compared to other areas.

Coming in third place is Hull, which received an overall health score of 93.09, thanks to a healthy people score of 91.14, healthy lives score of 92.7, and a healthy places score of 95.44. The healthy people score is low due to factors such as a poor difficulty in daily life score of 85.2 and poor frailty score of 82.86. The area also has a lower healthy lives score due to weak scores in healthy eating and smoking, with 81.7 and 83.74, respectively.


Birmingham comes in fourth place due to an overall health score of 93.19, split up into a healthy people score of 91.86, healthy lives score of 90.80, and a healthy places score of 96.90. The city scored particularly low in infant mortality with 71.94, mental health with 77.26, and physical health conditions with 79.26.


Rounding out the top five is Liverpool, which scored 93.49 on the overall health score, which is made up of a healthy people score of 90.88, healthy lives score of 91.20, and a healthy places score of 98.40. It scored low on things like drug misuse, 81.30, and pupil absences, with 80.12.

Commenting on the findings, a spokesperson from Barbend said: “It’s interesting to see just how many factors go into the health index, and how poorly some areas score in them. When data from after the COVID-19 pandemic is prepared however, it’s expected that many of these factors, particularly physical and mental health, will fluctuate due to the true unexpectedness of it.”

Each area’s health score is measured out of 100, with 100 being the level of the national average. For example, Blackpool scored 91.43 on its health score, meaning it scores around 91% of the national average, or roughly nine percentage points lower. Every score was calculated on the average from 2015 to 2019, when the most recent data was recorded.

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