Background: The population of Greenland comprises almost 31 000 Inuit Greenlanders aged 20-65. The purpose of this study was to estimate trends in expected life years between age 20 and 65 in good and poor health, and to compare changes between men and women since the mid-1990s. Methods: Partial life expectancy was calculated and combined with prevalence data on self-rated health, longstanding illness and musculoskeletal diseases derived from health surveys carried out in 1993-94, 1999-2001 and 2005-10. Trends for men and women were compared and changes were decomposed into contributions from changes in mortality and disability. Results: Partial life expectancy increased by 2.2 years for men and 0.8 years for women during the entire period. However, expected lifetime in self-rated good health decreased by 3.3 years for men and by 4.6 years for women (p<0.01). For men, life expectancy without longstanding illness increased by 4.7 years (p<0.001). The increase for women by 1.4 years was non-significant (p=0.29). Expected lifetime without musculoskeletal diseases increased significantly by 4.5 years for men and by 1.9 years for women. Conclusions: The development of expected lifetime without longstanding illness supports the theory of compression of morbidity, but as the trend direction differs according to which measure for health is used, a definite conclusion cannot be drawn. The different rate of development of partial life expectancy and expected lifetime in good health between men and women is remarkable, and has reduced the gender gap. The results call for special concern about the women's health in Greenland.