Perceived Health


Perceived health measures the percentage of people who say their health is ‘good’ or ‘very good’ in response to the question: “In general, would you say your health is: ‘excellent,’ ‘very good,’ ‘good,’ ‘fair’ or ‘poor’?”

Why This Matters

Perception of health is an important part of people’s subjective well-being and is a common indicator of overall health status.

In less-healthy areas, fewer people responded with “Excellent,” and more answered “Fair” or “Poor.” That being said, results were quite similar across all regional health authorities in Manitoba. In urban areas, the answers “Excellent” and “Very Good” were more common in higher income areas, while “Good” and “Fair/Poor” answers were more common in lower-income areas. In rural areas, “Excellent” and “Very Good” answers were not related to income. “Very Good” and “Fair”/ “Poor” rates were associated to area-level income, but in opposite directions (MCHP, 2009, p. 431).

Measurement and Limitations

Self-rated health measures people’s responses to the question: “In general, would you say your health is: excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor?” and given the clarification, “By health, we mean not only the absence of disease or injury but also physical, mental and social well-being.” As a self-assessment, it can capture elements related to well-being that cannot be captured clinically, such as “incipient disease, disease severity, physiological and psychological reserves, and social function” (Statistics Canada, 2010).

According to Statistics Canada (2010):

“Studies have demonstrated that this is a reliable and valid measure, associated with functional decline, morbidity and mortality. As well, perceived health is often more effective than clinical measures for predicting help-seeking behaviours and health service use. Perceived health is a relative measure-evidence suggests that people assess their health in relation to their circumstances and expectations, and their peers.”

Answers of “Fair” and “Poor” were combined to prevent suppression. Those who answered “I don’t know” were not included. Results from 2000-2005 were included (Manitoba RHA Indicators Atlas 2009, 428).

Data are reported for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA). It should be noted that 2012 data use new boundaries from previous years’ data-the former Churchill Regional Health Authority (RHA) has been integrated into the WRHA. The Churchill RHA has a very small population (approximately 1,000 individuals), but may have affected the figures somewhat.

Data Source

Statistics Canada. (2014). CANSIM Table 105-0509: Health indicator profile, 2-year estimates, by age group and sex, Canada, provinces, territories, health regions (2013 boundaries) and peer groups. Retrieved from

This data is updated as the data becomes available.


Manitoba Centre for Health Policy. (2009). Manitoba RHA indicators atlas 2009. Retrieved from Statistics Canada. (2010). Perceived health. Retrieved from


Perceived Health Sustainable Development Goals

3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being for all at all ages is essential to sustainable development. Significant strides have been made in increasing life expectancy and reducing some of the common killers associated with child and maternal mortality. Major progress has been made on increasing access to clean water and sanitation, reducing malaria, tuberculosis, polio and the spread of HIV/AIDS. However, many more efforts are needed to fully eradicate a wide range of diseases and address many different persistent and emerging health issues.