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Demographic Analysis (DEMOG) Life expectancy in Sweden 2011–2020

Life expectancy remains highest in Halland County

Statistical news from Statistics Sweden 2021-07-01 9.30

In the period 2011-2020, life expectancy was 84.0 years for women and 80.5 years for men. This is an increase of 1.2 years for women and 1.9 years for men compared with the previous ten-year period. There is a clear difference in life expectancy between counties. The highest life expectancy was noted in Halland County.

A demographic report on life expectancy in Sweden was published by Statistics Sweden that describes the development of life expectancy in Sweden, in the counties, in the 80 most populated municipalities, and by level of education. Mortality is presented using standardised mortality rates in all 290 municipalities. The report also includes comparisons with other countries and a calculation on how much various major causes of death contributed to the change in life expectancy.

Declining mortality due to cardiovascular diseases

The increase in life expectancy since the early 2000s is largely due to falling mortality in the ages 65 years and older and lower mortality from cardiovascular diseases. Lower mortality due to cancer at ages up to about 79 years for women and 84 years for men has also contributed to the increase in life expectancy. Mortality due to certain causes of death has increased, such as cancer in the highest ages.

Life expectancy in southern Sweden relatively high

There is a clear difference in life expectancy among counties. Counties in which life expectancy is relatively higher are located mainly in the southern parts of the country, as well as Uppsala and Stockholm counties in Svealand, while counties in which life expectancy is relatively lower are located in Norrland. The highest life expectancy was noted in Halland County, and applies to both women and men. This is unchanged from the previous ten-year period.

Life expectancy at birth for women and men in the counties 2011–2020, number of years, in descending order
Women Men
CountyNumber of yearsCountyNumber of years
Uppsala 84.60 Uppsala 81.32
Stockholm 84.56 Stockholm 80.95
Jönköping 84.45 Jönköping 80.92
Skåne 84.15 Östergötland 80.75
Östergötland 84.06 Skåne 80.56
Entire country 84.04 Västra Götaland 80.49
Västra Götaland 84.01 Entire country 80.46
Blekinge 83.94 Gotland 80.40
Kalmar 83.93 Dalarna 80.38
Dalarna 83.92 Västerbotten 80.30
Västmanland 83.87 Västmanland 80.24
Örebro 83.84 Kalmar 80.18
Värmland 83.83 Blekinge 80.04
Gotland 83.77 Jämtland 79.94
Västerbotten 83.65 Södermanland 79.92
Södermanland 83.62 Värmland 79.89
Jämtland 83.49 Örebro 79.88
Norrbotten 83.21 Gävleborg 79.51
Gävleborg 83.17 Västernorrland 79.42
Västernorrland 83.00 Norrbotten 79.11

Regional differences in life expectancy have been fairly stable over time. From the end of the 1960s to the period 2016-2020, the difference between counties with the highest and the lowest life expectancy has been about 2 years for women and 2.5 years for men. The larger difference for men is due to larger differences in mortality rates at younger ages.

Life expectancy is high in Sweden

Over time, life expectancy has continued to increase, as in most countries. However, in 2020, life expectancy dropped by 0.4 years for women and by 0.7 years for men. This was due to a large number of deaths caused by COVID-19 in 2020, mainly among older people.

In 2019, Sweden was among 20 countries in the world with the highest life expectancy for women and among the top ten countries with the highest life expectancy for men. Life expectancy in Sweden and in many other countries in Europe fell in 2020 compared to 2019 due to a large number of deaths caused by COVID-19. However, life expectancy for both women and men in Sweden remains relatively high compared with other European countries.

Definitions and explanations

Average remaining life expectancy is usually referred to as "life expectancy". It is an index that describes mortality in all ages for a year or a specific period. It is not a measure of how long we live. Mortality is presented in a life table and the average number of years remaining is calculated for all ages. Life tables are a standardised calculation that estimates the average age at death, or the average number of remaining years of life at different ages.

These statistics are based on register information from the population registration for various years up to and including 2020. The statistics are produced using information from Statistics Sweden’s Population Register and Education Register.

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