“Life expectancy at birth in Sweden increased by two and a half years from 2000–15, to 82.2 years (Figure 1). Swedish life expectancy is 1.6 years longer than the EU average and is the fifth highest across the EU.
“The gap in life expectancy between men and women is 3.7 years (80.4 years for men and 84.1 years for women), which is among the smallest in the EU. However, there is a sizeable gap in life expectancy between socioeconomic groups, particularly among men. Life expectancy at birth among Swedish men with university education is almost five years higher than among those who have not completed their secondary education.1 This gap is a bit less pronounced among women (less than three years).
“Cardiovascular diseases and cancer are the largest contributors to mortality Cardiovascular diseases and cancer are the leading causes of death among women and men in Sweden (Figure 2). In 2014, 32 600 people died from cardiovascular diseases (accounting for 37% of all deaths among women and 36% of all deaths among men) and 22 400 from cancer (accounting for 23% of all deaths among women and 27% of all deaths among men).
“Most of the life expectancy gains in Sweden since 2000 have been driven by reduced mortality rates after the age of 65. Swedish women at this age can expect to live another 21.5 years in 2015 (up from 20.2 years in 2000) and Swedish men another 18.9 years (up from 16.7 years in 2000). The number of years spent in good health is high compared to other EU countries, with healthy life expectancy at age 65 being the highest among all EU countries for both men (15.7 compared to the EU average 9.4) and women (16.8 compared to the EU average 9.4).2
“Looking at more specific causes of death, since 2000 the top five leading causes of death in Sweden remain the same but their rankings have changed. Ischaemic and other heart diseases are still the largest causes of death. But, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias have replaced stroke in the top three causes (Figure 3). The strong rise in the number of deaths from Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias reflects population ageing, better diagnosis, lack of effective treatments and more precise coding of these conditions as the cause of death.
“After the burden of diseases caused by fatal conditions, musculoskeletal problems (including low back and neck pain) are an increasing cause of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs)3 lost in Sweden (IHME, 2016). Major depressive disorders are another leading health problem that, even if not fatal, have serious life-limiting consequences.
“Based on self-reported data from the European Health Interview Survey (EHIS), one in six people in Sweden live with hypertension, one in ten live with chronic depression, and one in thirteen live with asthma. More positively, less than 5% of people report living with diabetes, a lower rate than in most other EU states. People with the lowest level of education are 6% more likely to live with asthma and more than two and a half times as likely to live with diabetes than those with the highest level of education.4
“The proportion of the Swedish population reporting to be in good health (80% in 2015) is much higher than the EU average (67%) and third highest in the EU behind Ireland and Cyprus (Figure 4). As in other EU countries, there is a substantial gap in self-rated health by socioeconomic status: 89% of people in the highest income quintile report to be in good health, compared with 67% of those in the lowest income quintile.”
Source: OECD/European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies (2017), Sweden: Country Health Profile 2017, State of Health in the EU, OECD Publishing, Paris/European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, Brussels. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264283572-en