Published: 24 October 2019

Average life expectancy at birth was 78.9 years for boys and 84.3 years for girls in 2018

According to Statistics Finland, the life expectancy at birth was 78.9 years for boys and 84.3 years for girls in 2018. Compared with 2017, the life expectancy of boys grew by 0.2 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 2018

Life expectancy at birth by sex in 1971 to 2018

Men are catching up with women in life expectancy

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 aged 65 was 21.8 years in 2018. 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 of persons aged 65 by sex in 1971 to 2018

Life expectancy of persons aged 65 by sex in 1971 to 2018

Regional differences in life expectancy bigger for boys than for girls

In the period 2016 to 2018, the life expectancy of both newborn boys and girls was longest in Ostrobothnia: 80.5 years for boys and 85.2 years for girls. In turn, the life expectancy of newborn boys was shortest in Kainuu, 76.8 years, and of newborn girls in Päijät-Häme and South Savo, 83.4 years.

Differences between regions in life expectancies were bigger for men than women. The life expectancy of a boy born in Ostrobothnia was 3.7 years longer than in Kainuu, where boys’ life expectancy was shortest. 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 2016 to 2018, 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, 4 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, 78.8 years, was nearly one year longer than in rural municipalities, 78 years. The life expectancy of girls in urban municipalities was 84.3 years and in rural municipalities 84 years.

Examined by native language, there were differences in the lengths of life expectancy in the period 2016 to 2018. 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. The difference for girls was similar but not as large. The life expectancy of girls speaking Swedish as their native language was 85.1 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 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.

Life expectancy at birth in Nordic countries in 1986 to 2018, females

Life expectancy at birth in Nordic countries in 1986 to 2018, females

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

Life expectancy at birth in Nordic countries in 1986 to 2018, males

Life expectancy at birth in Nordic countries in 1986 to 2018, males

Source: Deaths 2018

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

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

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Updated 24.10.2019

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Deaths [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-2545. 01 2018. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 18.11.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/kuol/2018/01/kuol_2018_01_2019-10-24_tie_001_en.html