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April was the month with the highest mortality rate in more than 20 years

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In April, there were more deaths in Sweden than in any other month in the 2000s, according to Statistics Sweden’s preliminary statistics. Subsequently, the death toll and excess mortality have both dropped.

The preliminary statistics have now been updated up to and including 15 May this year. At the time of writing, there were 10 458 deaths registered in April in Sweden.

“We have to go as far back as December 1993 to find a higher number of deaths during one month, when the death toll was 11 057. In 1993, there were 97 008 deaths in total, which was the highest number of deaths in a year since 1918 when the flu pandemic peaked,” says Tomas Johansson, statistician at Statistics Sweden’s Population and Economic Welfare unit.

However, in relation to the size of the population, there were more deaths in January 2000 than in April 2020, when the death rate was 110.8 deaths per 100 000. The corresponding figure for April 2020 was 101.1 deaths per 100 000 inhabitants.

Statistics Sweden compares the preliminary statistics on deaths with the average for corresponding periods in 2015–2019. Levels that are higher than the average are known as excess mortality.

Number of deaths decreasing in Stockholm

In weeks 16–19 this year, all counties except Västerbotten noted excess mortality. Excess mortality was less than 10 percent in six counties, including Skåne, which noted 945 deaths, compared with an average of 882 deaths on average in 2015–2019.

In Stockholm County, which has been greatly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the number of deaths continues to decrease following the peak in week 15 (ending 12 April). In week 19 (ending 10 May), there were 414 deaths registered, which is 363 fewer than in week 15.

“In week 19, Örebro is the only county that had a statistically significant excess mortality of more than 50 percent compared with 2015–2019. Örebro County has now noted an excess mortality rate during weeks 16–19,” says Tomas Johansson.

In the Excel file, these statistics are also presented by region and municipality, and by sex and age.

Facts: Preliminary statistics

Statistics Sweden’s preliminary statistics on deaths have been produced to provide rapid access to developments during the coronavirus outbreak, and to enable comparison with previous years. The statistics are reported on Mondays and should be regarded as raw data. These statistics are updated as new data is made available, as there is a lag in reporting, in particular for the days closest to publication.

Statistics from two weeks ago are not expected to change substantially. Previous years’ statistics are based on Statistics Sweden’s final observation register. Only persons whose date of death is known are included in the above calculations.

These statistics do not list the cause of death, but rather present the number of deaths among people registered in the population in Sweden.


Preliminary statistics on deaths (xlsx)

Read more articles at on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting society


Tomas Johansson

+46 10 479 64 26

Johannes Cleris, Press officer

+46 72 084 40 83