Social, Community and Other

This page shows charts, tables and commentaries on social and community aspects of life on St Helena.

For the detailed data files (in Excel format) and Statistical Bulletins on which is is based, please click here.

Life expectancy

Life expectancy at birth, sometimes thought of as average age at death, is around 81 for females and 74 for males, for the ten-year period 2013 to 2022. This is lower than UK, which is around 83 for females and 79 for males. Since the 1980s, life expectancy has increased around six to seven years on average, a similar improvement to that seen in the UK.

Life and healthy life expectancy

Healthy life expectancy at birth – the number of years, on average, that people live without self-reported health being ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ – is about 15 and 20 years lower than life expectancy, for men and women respectively.

Underlying cause of death

In the most recent twenty year period (2003 to 2022), the three leading underlying causes of death were cardiovascular diseases, cancers (malignant neoplasms), and diabetes, which together accounted for just over two-thirds of all on-island deaths - there were roughly fifty deaths per year, on average.

Among cancers, the leading type was trachea, bronchus and lung cancer, and colon and rectum cancers. These cancers were the underlying cause of death for 83 people between 2003 and 2022, of whom 80% were male.


The number of people claiming Unemployment Allowance (UA) rose in 2019 and 2020, although the number fell in 2021. UA was discontinued in September 2021, although the Benefits Office now maintains a count of the number of registered unemployed persons who are ‘job ready’.

The number of families claiming Income Related Benefits at the end of February 2024 was 266. Up until October 1 2021, Income Related Benefits were paid to households whose income falls below an agreed minimum level, but from October 1, 2021 they are paid to families; at the same time, eligibility rules were also changed.

Basic Island Pension

The number of claimants of Basic Island Pension (BIP) is 851 in February 2024, or just under 20% of the total population. The Basic Island Pension is paid to residents who are 65 and over, have worked for at least 20 years on St Helena, and have only small alternative pensions in place. The number of BIP recipients has risen steadily in recent years, consistent with demographic projections and St Helena’s ‘ageing’ population.