Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Frailty among Older Adults and Its Distribution in England

Lookup NU author(s): Dr David Sinclair, Professor Barbara Hanratty, Professor Fiona MatthewsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021, The Author(s). Background: Information on the spatial distribution of the frail population is crucial to inform service planning in health and social care. Objectives: To estimate small-area frailty prevalence among older adults using survey data. To assess whether prevalence differs between urban, rural, coastal and inland areas of England. Design: Using data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), ordinal logistic regression was used to predict the probability of frailty, according to age, sex and area deprivation. Probabilities were applied to demographic and economic information in 2020 population projections to estimate the district-level prevalence of frailty. Results: The prevalence of frailty in adults aged 50+ (2020) in England was estimated to be 8.1 [95% CI 7.3–8.8]%. We found substantial geographic variation, with the prevalence of frailty varying by a factor of 4.0 [3.5–4.4] between the most and least frail areas. A higher prevalence of frailty was found for urban than rural areas, and coastal than inland areas. There are widespread geographic inequalities in healthy ageing in England, with older people in urban and coastal areas disproportionately frail relative to those in rural and inland areas. Conclusions: Interventions aimed at reducing inequalities in healthy ageing should be targeted at urban and coastal areas, where the greatest benefit may be achieved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sinclair DR, Maharani A, Chandola T, Bower P, Hanratty B, Nazroo J, O'Neill TW, Tampubolon G, Todd C, Wittenberg R, Matthews FE, Pendleton N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Frailty and Aging

Year: 2022

Volume: 11

Pages: 163-168

Print publication date: 01/04/2022

Online publication date: 23/12/2021

Acceptance date: 12/11/2021

Date deposited: 10/03/2022

ISSN (print): 2260-1341

ISSN (electronic): 2273-4309

Publisher: Serdi-Editions


DOI: 10.14283/jfa.2021.55


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Funder referenceFunder name
funded by the National Institute for Health Research Policy Research Unit in Older People and Frailty.
Policy Research Unit Programme Reference Number PR-PRU-1217-21502.