4. Number of deaths from alcohol decreased in 2017

The decrease in the number of deaths from alcohol-related causes that started in 2008 continued again in 2017. In 2017, almost 1,600 persons died from alcohol-related diseases and alcohol poisonings. Of them, around 1,200 were men and 400 women. Their number decreased by 172 from the year before. The share of alcohol-related causes in all deaths was three per cent.

Changes in alcohol-related mortality has followed regularly the graph for total consumption of alcoholic beverages even though alcohol-related deaths usually call for long-term harmful use of alcohol that lasts for several years. Several different alcohol-related diseases used as underlying causes of death and accidental alcohol poisonings have been collected into alcohol-related causes of death. Diseases related to long-term alcohol use, such as liver and heart diseases, cause a majority of deaths from alcohol-related causes. Alcoholic liver diseases cause more than one-half of deaths from alcohol-related causes. The share of alcohol poisonings in deaths from alcohol-related causes has decreased from 26 to 14 per cent over a ten-year period. In 2017, altogether 213 persons died from alcohol poisonings, three out of four of them were men.

Figure 7. Age-standardised mortality from alcohol–related diseases and accidental poisonings by alcohol and total consumption of alcohol in 1971 to 2017

Figure 7. Age-standardised mortality from alcohol–related diseases and accidental poisonings by alcohol and total consumption of alcohol in 1971 to 2017

Men die from alcohol-related causes considerably more often than women (Figure 8). Male mortality has also followed changes in total consumption of alcohol more closely. Women are lagging behind in alcohol statistics but women's mortality from alcohol-related causes has also risen over several decades following men's mortality from alcohol-related causes. Women’s mortality from alcohol-related causes has not decreased in recent years in the same way as men’s mortality from alcohol-related causes either. In 2017, men’s mortality from alcohol-related causes was one-fifth lower than in 2014 and women’s almost on the same level as in 2014.

Persons who died of alcohol-related causes are older than before. In the past five years, mortality from alcohol-related causes among women aged 65 or over and men aged 75 or over has increased, while mortality from alcohol-related causes among younger age groups has decreased. Almost two-thirds of persons who died of alcohol-related causes are still of working age but alcohol mortality of persons aged over 65 has grown from 17 to 37 per cent over the past ten years. In 2017, the average age for men who died of alcohol-related causes was 61 years and that of women 62 years.

Figure 8. Age-standardised mortality from alcohol-related diseases and accidental poisonings by alcohol in 1971 to 2017

Figure 8. Age-standardised mortality from alcohol-related diseases and accidental poisonings by alcohol in 1971 to 2017

Source: Causes of death, Statistics Finland

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

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma


Updated 17.12.2018

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Causes of death [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-5078. 2017, 4. Number of deaths from alcohol decreased in 2017 . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 23.9.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/ksyyt/2017/ksyyt_2017_2018-12-17_kat_004_en.html