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High excess mortality in May

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The number of deaths in Sweden was considerably lower in May than in April this year, according to Statistics Sweden’s preliminary statistics. However, excess mortality remained high.

The preliminary statistics on deaths have now been updated up to and including 18 June this year. Statistics Sweden compares these with the average for corresponding periods in 2015–2019. Levels that are higher than the average are known as excess mortality.

Statistics Sweden has received information on 8 865 deaths in May, which is 1 669 fewer than in April, when 10 534 deaths were registered.

“However, excess mortality in May was still very high. There were 1 650 deaths more than the average for May in 2015–2019,” says Tomas Johansson, population statistician at Statistics Sweden.

Excess mortality in Sweden compared with 2015–2019 was 23 percent in May. We would have to go as far back as May 1900 to find a May month with higher excess mortality in relation to the five most recent years. In May 1900, there were 9 349 deaths, which was 2 252 deaths more than the average for May in the years 1895–1899.

In May 2020, the highest number of deaths since 1900 during a month of May was also noted.

To enable comparisons between different months, statistics on deaths per 100 000 inhabitants have been adjusted here so that all months are assumed to have 30 days. Under this calendar adjustment, there were 82.9 deaths per 100 000 inhabitants in Sweden in May. That is 18.9 deaths fewer than in April, when the deaths per 100 000 inhabitants was 101.8.

“That is the highest mortality in May since 2001, when there were 86.0 deaths per 100 000 inhabitants in May,” says Tomas Johansson.

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. 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 (Excel file)

Read more articles at 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