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Demographic Analysis (DEMOG) : Life expectancy in Sweden 2011–2015

Slight increase in average life expectancy in Sweden

Statistical news from Statistics Sweden 2016-11-29 9.30

Average life expectancy in Sweden in 2015 was 84.0 years for women and 80.3 years for men. Average life expectancy continues to increase for men more than for women. In the most recent 5-year period, life expectancy for men increased by 1 year and for women it increased by 0.6 years. Compared with other countries in Europe, Sweden has a relatively low growth rate.

Since the 1980s, average life expectancy for men has increased at a faster rate than for women – a trend that has continued in recent years. The greater increase in life expectancy for men than for women is explained by a greater drop in mortality for men than for women across the 40 to 84 year age interval. For instance, mortality in cardiovascular disease has decreased more for men than for women.

Sweden falls behind

In 2014, average life expectancy for Swedish men was sixth highest, and for Swedish women it was ninth highest in Europe. Compared with 2009, Sweden is now slightly further down on the list of countries in Europe. Average life expectancy for men in Cyprus and Italy is now higher than for Swedish men. Women in Luxembourg and Portugal have also passed Swedish women with regard to average life expectancy.

Remaining average life expectancy in years at birth for women and men in difference countries in Europe, 2014
 Woman Men
since 2009
since 2009
Spain 86.2 1.2 Iceland 81.3 1.5
France 86.0p 1.0 Switzerland 81.1 1.2
Italy 85.6 1.3 Liechtenstein 81 1.5
Switzerland 85.4 0.8 Cyprus 80.9 2.4
Luxembourg 85.2 1.9 Italy 80.7 1.6
Cyprus 84.7 1.2 Spain 80.4 1.6
Iceland 84.5 0.7 Sweden 80.4 1.0
Portugal 84.4p 1.6 Norway 80.1 1.4
Malta 84.2 1.5 Netherlands 80 1.3
Norway 84.2 1.0 Malta 79.8 1.9
Sweden 84.2 0.7 United Kingdom 79.5p 1.2

p) Preliminarily. Source: Eurostat. The table shows countries with the highest life expectancy in Europe, 2014.

Different reasons for high life expectancy

There are regional differences in life expectancy. Primarily counties in southern Sweden have high average life expectancy, and counties in northern Sweden have low average life expectancy. Low mortality in cardiovascular disease in large part explains Halland County's low total mortality rate. In Kronoberg County the total mortality rate, which is at the same level as in Halland County, is instead due to low mortality in several other causes of death.

Slightly increased mortality rate among young adults

The mortality rate is dropping among all those aged between 35 and 94 years. However, in the last 5-year period, some younger ages have not seen a drop in the mortality rate. Among those aged 25 to 34, the mortality rate has even increased somewhat for both men and women. This development is due to a higher mortality rate in accidents and suicide.

High mortality rate among Swedish born people with foreign born parents

In the age group 20 to 64 years, Swedish born people with two foreign born parents have a higher mortality rate than women and men on average in the same age group. Their mortality rate is 20 percent higher among women and 35 percent higher among men.

Large differences between educational groups in mid-Sweden

In Sweden, there are clear and growing differences in remaining average life expectancy between groups with different educational levels. Between 2011 and 2015, remaining life expectancy at age 30 years among people with compulsory education was 51.4 years for women and 48.2 years for men. Among the group with post-secondary education, remaining life expectancy was 56.7 years for women and 53.7 years for men. The difference between the groups with the highest and the lowest educational level was about 5.5 years throughout the country, although it varied from fully 2 years to more than 7 years between counties. Värmland, Västmanland and Stockholm counties reported the greatest differences between the educational groups. The smallest differences were reported in southern Sweden, including in Halland and Kronoberg counties.


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Statistical agency and producer

Statistics Sweden, Forecast Institute

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171 54 Solna


Örjan Hemström, demographer, Statistics Sweden

+46 10 479 49 97

Jeroen de Munter

+46 10 479 45 43