Wednesday. 20.11.2019
El tiempo

Finnish Swedes live longer than other Finns

Finland's life expectancy figures show relevant differences, especially between sexes but also according to geographical and linguistic origin.
A boat with the flag of Åland, the archipelago with a Swedish-speaking majority. Photo: Finmiki.
A boat with the flag of Åland, the archipelago with a Swedish-speaking majority. Photo: Finmiki.
Finnish Swedes live longer than other Finns

Life expectancy increased among Finns during the last year, but there are still some very marked differences, especially between sexes but also according to geographical and even linguistic origin.

On average, Finnish boys born in 2018 could aspire to live 78.9 years, and girls 84.3 years. This means an increase of 0.2 years for boys and 0.1 years for girls, according to Statistics Finland latest population data.

Life-expectancy-at-birth

Source: Statistics Finland.

Finland does not produce official statistics based on the concept of ethnicity. However, when figures are examined by native language, it is easy to appreciate relevant differences in the lengths of life expectancy. As in other statistics, Swedish Finns lead the longevity ranking.

The life expectancy of boys speaking Swedish as their native language was 80.9 years, which is over two years longer than the life expectancy of boys speaking Finnish as their native language (78.5 years).

For girls there are similar differences, though not as large. Life expectancy of girls who have Swedish as mother tongue was 85.1 years and for girls speaking Finnish as their native language was nearly one year shorter, 84.2 years.

Longest life expectancy in Ostrobothnia

These differences also reflect in the life expectancy levels of the different regions.

In the period 2016 to 2018, the life expectancy of both newborn boys and girls was longest in Ostrobothnia, which is one of the two Finnish regions with a Swedish-speaking majority of the population: 80.5 years for boys and 85.2 years for girls.

In turn, the life expectancy of newborn boys was shortest in the north-eastern region of Kainuu (76.8 years). Newborn girls had the shortest life expectancy in Päijät-Häme (southern Finland) and in Southern Savonia (south-east), 83.4 years both.

Men catching up with women

In 2018, the difference between sexes in life expectancy at birth was 5.4 years. In the past 30 years, the life expectancy of newborn boys has lengthened by 8.2 years and that of girls by 5.6 years. The difference between sexes was largest in the late 1970s, when it was nine years.

The life expectancy of men aged 65 was 18.4 years and that of women in the same age was 21.8 years. Compared with 1988, the life expectancy of men aged 65 has lengthened by 4.9 years and that of women by 4.3 years.

Life-expectancy-aged-65

Source: Statistics Finland.

Compared to other Nordic countries

Finnish women have over 30 years reached the same level of life expectancy as those from Sweden and Norway.

In 2018, 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.

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 life expectancy was still in 2018 about two years shorter than in Sweden and Norway.

Life expectancy is an age-standardized indicator that describes the level of mortality observed during the calculation period.

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