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The health of the population

In this section you can read about the population in Leicester and the health needs of patients here.

PEL-356-440pxLeicester’s population has a wide range of health needs, arising from the diversity of the city and the relatively high proportion of patients that can be described as being disadvantaged.

The challenge is how to meet all of these needs. We do so by being creative and flexible in our approach and working together with other organisations to achieve the best results for patients that we can.

Population size

Leicester is a growing city. Our resident population is estimated to be 337,653 and is forecast to rise at a faster rate than England to 404,000 by 2038. While 391,452 patients are registered with one of the 59 GP practices.


61% of the population are under 40 and children and young people under 20 make up a quarter of the population. The proportion over 65s is set to increase


Over half of the population (55%) are from black and minority ethnic backgrounds (BME includes White Other)

The city has the largest Indian population of any local authority area in England, while it also has thriving communities of people originating from Somali, Middle Eastern, African and Eastern European backgrounds. In part due to this inward migration.


Leicester is ranked as the 21st most deprived local authority area (out of 327) according to the Indices of Multiple Deprivation (2015). Just under half of our residents (44%) live in an area classified as being in the most deprived 20% nationally.

People who live in disadvantaged circumstances tend to have poorer health than the rest of the population, which means that in Leicester, greater allowance needs to be made for this in the provision of health services. It also highlights the importance of working with partners such as Leicester City Council and others to address the wider issues as a whole.

PEL-029-440pxLife expectancy

In Leicester, life expectancy is improving but not as fast as nationally. Women live 1.4 years less than the national average and men 2.2 years less. There is also variation across the city with a difference of six years for men and seven years for women between the ward with the highest life expectancy and the lowest.

We call these differences, health inequalities. Reducing these health inequalities remains central to our ambitions of helping all people living in Leicester to live longer, healthier lives.

Some of the major factors that contribute to these inequalities are smoking, alcohol misuse, unhealthy diet and lack of physical exercise. This is why we can only fully meet the challenge in front of us by working to prevent ill-health as well as curing it.

Causes of ill-health

With life expectancy below the national average, people are living with chronic disease earlier and dying prematurely.

The main causes of death are:

  • Cardiovascular disease (28%)
  • Cancer (25%)
  • Respiratory disease (13%)

These account for two out of every three deaths.

Photo of GP visiting a patient at homeOne in four households include someone with a disability or long term illness. Supporting such patients in managing their condition and avoiding any deterioration is key to our prevention strategy.

The recorded prevalence of diabetes has increased in recent years, with around 26,000 people in the city now having diabetes, and there may be as many more again living with the condition undiagnosed. This is a higher proportion of the population than is the case nationally and it is predicted to rise further.

Major health needs in the city are related to lifestyle issues, contributing to the development of long-term conditions.

Tobacco use is the single greatest cause of preventable death, causing approximately 400 deaths per year. Smoking prevalence has fallen over the last few years  (21.5%) but remains higher than the national average (19%). Over half of adults are overweight, although this is lower than the national average.

One in four working age adults and one in ten older people have a common mental health problem. This is expected to increase by 10% over the next ten years.


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