Life expectancy in Sweden looks set to decline during pandemic: report

Swedes’ average life expectancy will likely fall this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report published by Statistics Sweden on Wednesday.

The report forecasted that the average life expectancy now looks set to fall from 84.7 to 84.4 years for women and from 81.3 to 80.8 years for men.

The forecast is based on the known number of deceased persons between January and August this year and on a presumptive death rate for October to December on the basis of 2019 figures. That means the forecast may be adjusted up or down, depending on what the death rates in the final quarter of 2020 will be.

According to Statistics Sweden, the average life expectancy in Sweden has increased steadily between 1900 and 2019, but this year there were nearly 6,500 more deaths up until Aug. 31 than in the same period last year. That means there were 4,800 more deceased individuals than predicted in the previous forecast.

“Such a prolonged period with increased mortality will likely result in a lower average life expectancy,” Orjan Hemstrom, a demographer at Statistics Sweden, said in a press statement cited by news agency TT.

“Most of the excess deaths compared to the previous year occurred among elderly people but it looks like the death rate could also be higher in all age groups in 2020,” Hemstrom added.

The latest figures from Sweden’s Public Health Agency show that 55 new COVID-19-related deaths were reported between Tuesday and Wednesday, meaning a total of 6,555 Swedes have died so far due to the disease.

There were 4,954 new cases registered on Wednesday, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 230,514. Out of those, 3,162 have required intensive care, according to the Swedish Intensive Care Registry.