Published: 26 October 2018

Average life expectancy at birth was 78.7 years for boys and 84.2 years for girls in 2017

According to Statistics Finland, the life expectancy at birth was 78.7 years for boys and 84.2 years for girls in 2017. Compared with 2016, the life expectancy of boys grew by 0.3 years and that of girls by 0.1 years. 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 2017

Life expectancy at birth by sex in 1971 to 2017

Men are catching up with women in life expectancy

In 2017, the difference between sexes in life expectancy at birth was 5.5 years. In the past 30 years, the life expectancy of newborn boys has lengthened by 8 years and that of girls by 5.5 years. The difference between sexes was largest in the late 1970s when it was nine years.

The life expectancy of men aged 65 was 18.2 years and that of women aged 65 was 21.8 years in 2017. Compared with 1987, the life expectancy of men aged 65 has lengthened by 4.8 years and that of women by 4.2 years.

Life expectancy of persons aged 65 by sex in 1971 to 2017

Life expectancy of persons aged 65 by sex in 1971 to 2017

Regional differences in life expectancy bigger for boys than for girls

In the period 2015 to 2017, the life expectancy of newborn boys was longest in Central Ostrobothnia, 80.6 years, and shortest in Kainuu, 76.6 years. The life expectancy of newborn girls was longest in Ostrobothnia, 85.3 years, and shortest in Päijät-Häme, 83.4 years.

Differences between regions in life expectancies were bigger for men than women. The life expectancy of a boy born in Central Ostrobothnia was 4 years longer than in Kainuu, where boys’ life expectancy was lowest. For girls, the corresponding difference between the longest and shortest life expectancy was 1.8 years.

Men's life expectancy was shorter than that of women in all regions. In the period 2015 to 2017, the difference between sexes was biggest in Kainuu, where men’s life expectancy was 7.4 years shorter than women's. The difference between sexes was smallest in Central Ostrobothnia, 3.6 years.

Life expectancy at birth was highest for both men and women in urban municipalities and lowest in rural municipalities, when municipalities are divided by the statistical grouping of municipalities. The life expectancy of newborn boys in urban municipalities, 78,7 years, was nearly one year longer than in rural municipalities, 77.8 years. The life expectancy of girls in urban municipalities was 84.2 years and in urban municipalities 83.9 years.

Examined by native language, there were differences in the lengths of life expectancy in the period 2015 to 2017. The life expectancy of boys speaking Swedish as their native language was 80.7 years, which is over two years longer than the life expectancy of boys speaking Finnish as their native language, 78.4 years. The difference for girls was similar but not as large. The life expectancy of girls speaking Swedish as their native language was 85 years and the life expectancy of girls speaking Finnish as their native language was nearly one year shorter, 84.2 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 2017, 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 2017, women

Life expectancy at birth in Nordic countries in 1986 to 2017, 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 2017 was still about two years shorter than in Sweden and Norway.

Life expectancy at birth in Nordic countries in 1986 to 2017, men

Life expectancy at birth in Nordic countries in 1986 to 2017, men

Source: Deaths 2017

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

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

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Updated 26.10.2018

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Deaths [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-2545. 01 2017. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 16.11.2018].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/kuol/2017/01/kuol_2017_01_2018-10-26_tie_001_en.html