Published: 27 October 2017

Average life expectancy at birth was 78.4 years for boys and 84.1 years for girls in 2016

According to Statistics Finland, the life expectancy at birth was 78.4 years for boys and 84.1 years for girls in 2016. The life expectancy of boys shortened by 0.1 years and that of girls remained unchanged from 2015. Life expectancy is an age-standardised indicator that describes the level of mortality observed during the calculation period.

Life expectancy at birth by sex in 1971 to 2016

Life expectancy at birth by sex in 1971 to 2016

Men are catching up with women in life expectancy

In 2016, the difference between sexes in life expectancy at birth was 5.7 years. In the past 30 years, the life expectancy of newborn boys has lengthened by 7.9 years and that of girls by 5.4 years. The difference between sexes was largest in the late 1970s when it was nine years.

The life expectancy of men aged 65 was 18.0 years and that of women aged 65 was 21.6 years in 2016. Compared with 1986, the life expectancy of men aged 65 has lengthened by 4.6 years and that of women by 4.2 years.

Life expectancy of persons aged 65 by sex in 1971 to 2016

Life expectancy of persons aged 65 by sex in 1971 to 2016

Median age at death has risen for women by ten years from the 1980s

In 2016, the median age at death for men was 77.2 years and for women 85.4 years. In 1980, the corresponding median age at death was 68.2 years for men and 75.4 years for women.

The median age at death describes the age distribution of deaths. The median age at death shows at what age the middlemost dead person dies if persons who have died were placed in order of age. So one-half of all persons that died either died at a younger or older age than the median age at death.

Regional differences in life expectancy bigger for boys than for girls

In the period 2014 to 2016, the life expectancy of newborn boys was longest in Ostrobothnia, 80.4 years, and shortest in Etelä-Savo, 76.6 years. Correspondingly, the life expectancy of newborn girls was longest in Ostrobothnia, 85.5 years, and shortest in North Karelia, 83.0 years.

Differences between regions in life expectancies were bigger for men than women. The life expectancy of a boy born in Ostrobothnia was 3.8 years longer than in Etelä-Savo, where boys’ life expectancy was lowest. For girls, the corresponding difference between the longest and shortest life expectancy was 2.5 years.

Men's life expectancy was shorter than that of women in all regions. In the period 2014 to 2016, the difference between sexes was biggest in Kainuu, where men’s life expectancy was 7.1 years shorter than women's. The difference between sexes was smallest in Åland, 4.0 years.

Examined by native language, there were differences in the lengths of life expectancy in the period 2014 to 2016. The life expectancy of boys speaking Swedish as their native language was 80.8 years, which is over two years longer than the life expectancy of boys speaking Finnish as their native language, 78.2 years. The difference for girls was similar but not as large. The life expectancy of girls speaking Swedish as their native language was 84.9 years and the life expectancy of girls speaking Finnish as their native language was nearly one year shorter, 84.0 years.

Finnish women have caught up with Sweden and Norway in life expectancy over 30 years

Finnish women fare well when comparing life expectancies in Nordic countries. During 30 years, the life expectancy has lengthened most in Finland for both women and men.

Finnish women have over 30 years reached the same level of life expectancy as Sweden and Norway. In 2016, women's life expectancy was good 84 years in all three countries. Danish women's life expectancy has stayed at a lower level throughout the reference period.

Life expectancy at birth in Nordic countries in 1986 to 2016, women

Life expectancy at birth in Nordic countries in 1986 to 2016, women

In the 1980s, Finnish men had the shortest life expectancy in the Nordic countries. During 30 years, the difference to Danish men has diminished, but in both countries the life expectancy in 2016 was still about two years shorter than in Sweden and Norway.

Life expectancy at birth in Nordic countries in 1986 to 2016, men

Life expectancy at birth in Nordic countries in 1986 to 2016, men

Source: Deaths 2016

Inquiries: Katariina Heikkilä 029 551 3638, Markus Rapo 029 551 3238, info@stat.fi

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

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Updated 27.10.2017

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Deaths [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-2545. 01 2016. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 25.11.2017].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/kuol/2016/01/kuol_2016_01_2017-10-27_tie_001_en.html

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