Published: 14 December 2020

Neoplasms the most common cause of death for working-age people in 2019

According to Statistics Finland's statistics on causes of death, nearly 7,400 persons of working age, i.e. aged 15 to 64, died in 2019. The vast majority of them, two-thirds, were men. More than one half of deceased working-age people died of neoplasms and diseases of the circulatory system. Every tenth, or 700 persons, died in accidents and nearly 600 persons committed suicide.

Causes of death for deaths at working age (aged 15 to 64) in 2000 to 2019

Causes of death for deaths at working age (aged 15 to 64) in 2000 to 2019

In Finland, ever fewer people of working age die. While still at the beginning of the 2000s an average of more than 10,000 persons of working age, i.e. aged 15 to 64, died each year, 7,400 persons of working-age died in 2019. During 2019, a total of 54,000 persons died, so the share of working-age people in all deaths was 14 per cent.

The age-standardised mortality of working-age people relative to the population’s age structure and number has decreased by over one quarter over the past ten years. The decrease in mortality has been mostly due to lower mortality from diseases of the circulatory system and neoplasms, but positive development has occurred in all most common cause of death groups. During 2019, mortality among working-age people decreased further for both men and women, by five per cent from the year before.

Nearly every third working-age person died from neoplasms

Since 2001, more persons of working age have died of neoplasms than of diseases of the circulatory system. In 2019, neoplasms caused 2,200 deaths among working age people. There were almost as many men (1,200) and women (1,000) among the deceased. The most common cancer resulting in death for working-age women was breast cancer, which caused the death of over 200 women (Appendix table 1c). The most typical cancer among working-age men, in turn, was lung cancer (Appendix Table 1b).

Neoplasm mortality of working-age people has decreased for both men and women by 20 per cent in ten years. The lower mortality is particularly due to the positive development of lung cancer mortality among working-age people.

Cardiovascular diseases caused only one fifth of deaths among working-age people

At the beginning of the 1970s, diseases of the circulatory system caused nearly one half of deaths among working-age people. The share was only one-fifth of deaths in 2019. In 2019, around 1,600 persons aged 15 to 64 died of diseases of the circulatory system, while at the beginning of the 1970s over 6,000 persons died from these diseases every year. Men's share of deaths from diseases of the circulatory system has remained high, at over 70 per cent, in different decades.

The age-standardised mortality of working-age people from diseases of the circulatory system has decreased by nearly one third over the past ten years. In 2019, the positive development continued further and mortality from diseases of the circulatory system decreased for both men and women.

Altogether 1,000 working-age persons died of alcohol-related causes in 2019

The number of deaths among working-age men and women from alcohol-related causes has declined clearly from the record level of 2007, when there were almost 1,800 deaths. However, in 2019, still around 1,000 working-age persons died from alcohol-related diseases and alcohol poisonings. Most of them were men. The number of deaths was almost the same as in the previous year.

Poisoning most common cause of accidental deaths among working-age people

In 2019, altogether 700 working-age people died in accidents. The accident mortality among working-age people had decreased by one third compared with the situation ten years ago. The most typical cause of accident deaths among working-age people was poisoning. Around 250 working-age people died from it.

Positive development has also taken place in suicide mortality. During 2019, altogether 570 working-age persons committed suicide, which is one third fewer than ten years earlier. However, the number of suicides has not decreased in the past five years. Seventy-five per cent of working-age people having committed suicide were men.

Main causes of death among working-age population (aged 15 to 64) in 2019

54-group time series classification Total
15–64
Males Females Total Age-standardised
mortality rate 15–64
Age-standandardised
mortality rate
15–64
Number Number Number % Change
2018–2019, %
Change
2009–2019, %
Deaths total 7 368 4 960 2 408 100 –5,1 –26,9
Neoplasms 2 200 1 187 1 013 30 –6,0 –20,3
Diseases of the circulatory system 1 609 1 254 355 22 –5,1 –30,5
Alcohol related diseases and accidental poisoning by alcohol 1 002 748 254 14 –2,4 –36,0
Accidents 709 564 145 10 –9,0 –32,9
Suicides 573 431 142 8 –4,0 –31,6
Other causes of death 1 275 776 499 17 - -

Source: Causes of death, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Airi Pajunen 029 551 3605, Kati Taskinen 029 551 3648, Jari Hellanto 029 551 3291, kuolemansyyt@stat.fi

Head of Department in charge: Hannele Orjala

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Updated 14.12.2020

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Causes of death [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-5078. 2019. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 16.6.2021].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/ksyyt/2019/ksyyt_2019_2020-12-14_tie_001_en.html