This tool provides an estimate of the percentage of a local authority population with low health literacy and numeracy or with just low health literacy.

It presents data on individual local authorities with the option of a map view. When using the map view, you can zoom in or out to see comparative health literacy levels over a wider or smaller geographic area. Click on the local authority areas in the map to see the estimated prevalence of low health literacy.

Please begin by entering the name of a local authority. Use lower tier local authority names i.e. the local council (district or borough).

NB. Data are for 2016 so Local Authority choices and mapping reflect 2016 boundaries. Some Local Authorities have since merged. In these cases please base your choices on 2016 Local Authorities as per the table below.

2019 Local Authority 2016 Local Authorities
Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole (BCP) Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole
Dorset North Dorset, East Dorset, West Dorset, Purbeck, Weymouth and Portland
East Suffolk Suffolk Coastal, Waveney
West Suffolk Forest Heath, St Edmundsbury
Somerset West and Taunton West Somerset, Taunton Deane

Please select a Local Authority from either the Home page or by clicking on the map in order to see detailed statistics for that Authority in relation to the national average.

Estimated prevalence of low health literacy

Percentage of the population aged 16-64 that are below the threshold for low health literacy
This represents an estimate of the prevalence of poor health literacy for the chosen Local Authority. It indicates the percentage of the population aged 16-64 who would likely have difficulties in understanding or interpreting health information. Note that the prevalence is an estimate derived from a statistical model and should not be taken as a precise measure.

The underpinning statistical models use data from the Skills for Life Survey, population projections and census data to derive estimates that reflect variations in local demography, educational and social status, deprivation and self-reported English Language proficiency. Any local authority will contain areas that will have higher or lower prevalences.

Skills for Life data were for 2011. The last census was also 2011 while the most recent population projections were for 2016. In sum, we used the most recent suitable and available data at the time the estimates were produced.

The mean national prevalence of the population aged 16-64 that are below the threshold for both health literacy and health numeracy is 59.64%; for health literacy alone, the mean national prevalence is 40.66%.

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      Mean national prevalence

Estimated prevalence of low health literacy

Map shows the level of prevalence in the chosen Local Authority. Click on a neighbouring Authority to display its value.

Zoom in and out of the map using the '+' and '-' controls in the top left-hand corner. Zoom to the extent of England using the 'zoom to max extent' button.