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Living and Working Well   Download this section

Living and Working Well

This section covers key health indicators relating to adulthood, including working life, for people living in York.


Areas where York is doing well 


Employment is generally considered to be positive for health and wellbeing; it provides income and the opportunity for social interaction. Most people in York are working; the majority have full time roles and almost a quarter are in part time roles. Compared to the UK average, there are more people in employment and fewer people self-employed. Weekly earnings are historically strong against the Yorkshire and Humber averages, but low against the country as a whole. In the last year wages in York have grown. When asked  in a survey, just more than half of people felt their skills meet the jobs in York.

Breast cancer screening

Cancer screening programmes increase the opportunity for early diagnosis and early treatment of common cancer types. York has a higher proportion of women who attend breast screening programmes than the England, regional, and statistical averages. This is a stable trend; York has been significantly higher than the national average for the last five years.

Bowel cancer screening

Cancer screening programmes increase the opportunity for early diagnosis and early treatment of common cancer types. Take up of bowel cancer screening in adults in York has increased rapidly in recent years, and is now above the national average, and does better than most of the statistical neighbours.  

Physically active adults

Regular physical activity reduces the risk of a person developing obesity, a range of long term health conditions, and can also improve mental wellbeing. A minimum of 150 minutes of physical activity is the target set by the Chief Medical Officer for England. York has a significantly higher proportion of adults achieve this compared to regional and national averages, as well as York’s statistical neighbours. In particular, York has a very large proportion of adults who walk and cycle regularly.

Excess weight

Excess weight is a risk factor for a wide range of long term health conditions and a reduced life expectancy. York has a lower proportion of adults who are overweight or obese than the national or regional average, and a similar score when compared with statistical neighbour averages. Despite this, over half of adults in York are either overweight or obese.  This means that excess weight is harmful to the health of the adult population of York.


Smoking is a major cause of preventable early death and ill health. York has a lower proportion of residents who are smokers than the national, regional, and statistical neighbour averages. Across the country, the proportion of adults who smoke is gradually falling and York is following this trend. There are marked increases in the numbers of people who report having never smoked, including people in routine and manual roles where there were historically high levels of smoking. However, York does not currently report data on how many people have successfully stopped smoking through the stop smoking service.


Areas where York needs to improve

Alcohol related hospital admissions

Admissions to hospital for alcohol related conditions are an important indicator of the level of harm caused by higher levels of alcohol consumption over a long period; for example heart conditions and cancers. Taken as a whole, the alcohol hospital admission data shows that York has a higher rate of admissions to hospital as England, regional and statistical neighbour averages. Admissions are highest for people in their 50s and 60s. Alcohol related hospital admissions have increased in York in recent years; and in the last three reporting periods rose above the England average.

Influenza vaccination

The flu vaccination is encouraged for older adults, pregnant women, young children, people with some long term health conditions, and some people who work in health and social care. York has low uptake data and does not meet the overall national target for at risk groups.   However, last year York did meet the target for flu vaccinations in older people.  

Other important health topics

Employment for women

Nationally, fewer women than men are employed. For some women this represents a positive choice and promotes wellbeing for them and their families. For other women this reflects that work is not a financially viable or practical option after the costs of caring for children or family members has been considered. In York, more women are employed than the national average and the gap between male and female employment is narrower than the England average. However, it is important to recognise that in York the average hourly rate of pay for women is significantly lower than for men and the pay gap increased during the last reporting period.

Health Checks

Health checks are offered to people once they reach 40 to identify early risk factors for common preventable health conditions. Health checks should be offered on a five year cycle. York is currently offering numbers of health checks that is in line with the national average. However, fewer people are currently taking up this offer than in other places.  Taken together, this means that the fewer people in York are receiving a health check than in other places.


Areas of inequalities in York

Health and employment

Although York has generally good levels of employment. Not all residents have this experience. The rate of unemployment is higher in the most deprived wards than the least deprived wards. Additionally, the likelihood of staying unemployed for more than a year is greater in the most deprived wards.  The health outcomes for these groups of people are likely to be worse as a result.

Low incomes

Employment is generally considered to be beneficial for wellbeing, however employment is not a guaranteed route into financial security for everyone in York. Over 20% of working people in York earned less than the living wage (as recommended by the living wage foundation). Additionally, a large proportion of working families on low incomes rely on tax credits to supplement their income.

Additionally, low incomes can mean that people have to spend more on essential goods and services, for example because they are on more expensive tariffs and payment plans, or because they are unable to take advantage of offers and deals. In York the 'poverty premium' costs low income households nearly £500 each year.

Health checks for people with learning disability

Adults with learning disabilities are entitled to a health check each year. In York people with learning disabilities are significantly less likely to receive a health check than their peers nationally, or those who live in York's statistical neighbour areas. This means that more people with learning disabilities in York miss the opportunity for earlier diagnosis and treatment for health conditions.

Employment for people with mental health conditions

Some people may face additional barriers to employment; this may be particularly true for people with mental health conditions. In York, the proportion of people who are in contact with secondary mental health services who are in paid employment was lower than the national average in 2016-2017. Previously, York had seen a similar, or higher, level of employment among people in contact with secondary mental health services when compared to national averages; however the level for employment in this group has fallen in York in the last two reporting periods.

Employment for people with learning disabilities

Some people may face additional barriers to employment; this may be particularly true of people with learning disabilities. It is therefore a measure of health inequality to understand what proportion of people with learning disabilities are in paid employment. York has a higher proportion of people with learning disabilities who are in paid employment than other local authorities; although this proportion has reduced over the past three reporting periods. It is also important to consider that that there is still a considerable employment gap in York between people with learning disabilities and those without.


This page was last updated on 13 November 2019
This page will be reviewed by 13 November 2020