Term: Potential Years of Life Lost (PYLL)

Glossary Definition

Last Updated: 2013-10-30


PYLL is an indicator of early death (before age 75) that gives greater weight to deaths occurring at a younger age than to those at later ages. PYLL emphasizes the loss of the potential contribution that younger individuals can make to society. By emphasizing the loss of life at an early age, PYLL focuses attention on the need to deal with the major causes of early deaths, such as injury, in order to improve health status. This indicator has some similarity to premature mortality and life expectancy, but PYLL is more sensitive to deaths at younger ages (beyond infancy). For example, the death of a 50 year old contributes "1 death" to premature mortality, but "25 years" to PYLL; whereas the death of a 70 year old also contributes "1 death" to premature mortality, but only "5 years" to PYLL.

This indicator measures the age- and sex-adjusted average annual number of years between age at death and age of 75 for the population 1 to 74 years old. For each death, the PYLL value is calculated as: PYLL = 75 - age at death. The denominator includes all Manitoba residents 1 to 74 years old.

PYLL has been found to vary with characteristics such as sex, socio-economic status and place of residence.

NOTE : some "older" studies use age 70 for calculating years of life lost.

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