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Excess mortality and COVID-19 in Sweden in 2020: A demographic account

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posted on 26.05.2021, 09:25 by Martin Kolk, Sven Drefahl, Matthew Wallace, Gunnar Andersson
In this study, we provide an account of mortality levels in Sweden during 2020, with a focus both on excess mortality and mortality due to COVID-19 deaths. We present various measures of life expectancy of women and men based on age-specific death rates during 2020. Our measures of excess mortality are based on comparisons with benchmarks based on a previous mortality forecast for 2020 by Statistics Sweden and the observed mortality rates during an average of 2017-2019. We present data on regional and seasonal variation in excess mortality as well as estimates of Years of Potential Life lost due to COVID-19. We decompose the excess mortality in 2020 into what can be explained by COVID-19 and changes in mortality by other causes. We also provide some estimates on the impact of the excess mortality in 2020 on the remaining life expectancy for different cohorts of Swedish women and men. We demonstrate that the impact of COVID-19 mortality was concentrated to higher ages and among men in particular. Some younger age groups rather experienced a negative excess mortality. The mortality situation during 2020 pushed life expectancy back to levels previously observed during 2018 for women and 2017 for men.


Swedish Public Health Authority

Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life, and Welfare (FORTE) for a project with ageing research, grant number 2016-07115




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Excess mortality and COVID-19 in Sweden in 2020: A demographic account

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310 Sociologiska institutionen | Department of Sociology