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Excess mortality in Sweden is followed by mortality deficit

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The increasing spread of the coronavirus in society is not yet noticeable in the number of deaths in Sweden, according to preliminary statistics from Statistics Sweden. In the third quarter of 2020, there were slightly fewer deaths than in the corresponding period in recent years.

The preliminary statistics on deaths have now been updated up to and including 9 October this year. Statistics Sweden has compared these with the average in corresponding periods in 2015–2019. Levels that are higher than the average are known as excess mortality. Levels that are below the average are known as mortality deficit.

– The high level of excess mortality in the second quarter of 2020 was followed by a marginal mortality deficit in the third quarter, according to Tomas Johansson, statistician at Statistics Sweden.

In the second quarter (April-June) in 2020, there were 26 896 deaths registered in Sweden’s population. In the third quarter (July-September), Statistics Sweden noted 20 641 deaths, which is 6 255 fewer than in the previous quarter.

– That’s 23 percent fewer deaths than between April and June, Tomas Johansson explains.

Minor mortality deficit

As a rule, mortality rates are lowest in the third quarter of the year. Since 2000, only in 2003 and 2014 was this not the case. In addition, this year there is a mortality deficit in the third quarter. In total, the number of deaths in July-September was 1.9 percent less than the average in the corresponding period in 2015-2019.

– We have noted a mortality deficit at the national level every week since the end of August, says Tomas Johansson.

In the second quarter, the highest level of excess mortality in Sweden was recorded in Stockholm County. There were 5 952 deaths, which is 59 percent more than the average for the second quarter in the years 2015-2019.

– On the other hand, in the third quarter Stockholm County recorded the highest mortality deficit in Sweden. We have noted 3 379 deaths in the county, which is 8.4 percent less than in the same period in 2015-2019, Tomas Johansson concludes.

Low rates in several counties

In the second quarter, Västerbotten County was the only county with a mortality rate below the average for 2015-2019, while in the third quarter, 11 out of 21 counties recorded fewer deaths than the average for the same years.

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

Further statistics on deaths is available in Eurostat’s database. In addition to Sweden’s statistics, Eurostat’s database contains corresponding figures for many other EU countries.

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. These 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 (Excel file)

More articles on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting society

Statistics on deaths available at Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office


Tomas Johansson

+46 10 479 64 26

Johannes Cleris, Press officer

+46 72 084 40 83