Male life expectancy catching up

Older married couplesOlder married couples on the trip. Photo Norway Today Media

From 2014 to 2015, life expectancy for men increased by 0.3 years, while the corresponding increase for women was just 0.05 years. As such, the gender gap decreased, and is currently 3.8 years, compared to almost 7 years in the 1980s.

Life expectancy continues to increase, new-born girls and boys can now expect to reach age 84.2 and 80.4 respectively. During the last 30 years, life expectancy in Norway has increased by nearly 8 years for men but only 5 years for women. During this period, the gender gap has been reduced by 3 years. In the 1950s, the gender gap was about 3.5 years, but this increased to about 6.8 years in the 1980s. The gender gap is continually narrowing and is now just 3.8 years. The overall increase in life expectancy and the fact that life expectancy is increasing more for men than women have contributed to the falling gender gap. This trend can also be seen among older age groups. The remaining life expectancy for men aged 70 is now 14.9 years, compared to 17.3 years for women. The difference in remaining life expectancy between men and women has decreased by 0.2 years from 2014.

Living longer in Sogn og Fjordane
Figures from the 5-year period 2011-2015 indicate pronounced differences in life expectancy between Norwegian counties. Life expectancy for new-born girls fluctuates between counties from 82.3 to 85.2 years, which corresponds to a difference of almost 3 years. For new-born boys, life expectancy fluctuates from 77.2 to 80.6 years – a difference of almost 3.5 years. New-born girls in Sogn og Fjordane can expect to live the longest with 85,2 years. Girls in Møre og Romsdal take second place, with 84.7 years. New-born boys in Møre og Romsdal have the highest life expectancy with 80,6 years, followed by Akershus (80.5 years) and Sogn og Fjordane (80.3 years). At the other end of the scale is Finnmark, with the lowest life expectancy for both new-born girls and boys with 82,3 and 77,2 years. The greatest gender gap (5.1 years) is observed in Finnmark, while the gender gap is lowest in Oppland (3.6 years). For the country as a whole, life expectancy during this 5-year period was 83.7 and 79.7 for new-born girls and boys respectively. Compared to the period 2006-2010, life expectancy for men has increased most in Østfold, while the increase was most pronounced for women in Vestfold. The least pronounced increase in life expectancy was observed for men in Sogn og Fjordane and women in Hordaland.

Japanese women and Swiss men live the longest
Worldwide, women in Japan still have the highest life expectancy at birth, according to Statistics Bureau, Japan. In 2013, a new-born Japanese girl could expect to reach 86.6 years. Figures from Eurostat, EU’s Statistical Bureau, indicate that new-born girls in Spain and France could expect to live 86.1 and 85.6 years in 2013 respectively. The highest life expectancy at birth for men worldwide is observed for new-born boys in Switzerland, with Iceland in second place. New-born boys in these countries could expect to reach 80.7 and 80.5 years respectively.

Relatively few deaths
In 2015, 40 727 persons died in Norway (around 19 700 men and almost 21 000 women). The number of male deaths was almost the same as that for 2014, while 300 more female deaths were observed in 2015 compared to the previous year. The average age at death was 76.2 years for men and 82.2 years for women. Most men died in the age group 80-86 years, while most women died in the age group 86-92 years. The number of deaths per 1 000 of the mean population has been relatively stable from 2014. The crude mortality rate is 7.6 for men and 8.1 for women. According to the United Nations, this mortality rate is relatively low in a European context. However, countries outside Europe with a relatively younger population tend to have a lower crude mortality rate.

Few infant deaths
In 2015, 139 children below age one died (80 boys and 59 girls). This gender disparity is well known. The infant mortality rate remains low and is now 2.4 children per 1 000 live births. The rate for boys was 2.6, the same as in 2014. For girls, the rate was 2.1 – slightly lower than in 2014. Since infant death is a rare occurrence in Norway, random factors will influence the rate pronouncedly. Norway is one of the countries in Europe with the lowest infant mortality rate. There are marked differences in infant mortality rates among the counties in Norway. In the period 2011-2015, the infant mortality rate per 1 000 live births fluctuated from 1.7 in Sør-Trøndelag to 5.0 in Finnmark. From 1966 onwards, the Norwegian infant mortality rate for both sexes combined has decreased from 13.4 to 2.4. This corresponds to a decrease of 11.0 per 1 000 live births during this period.


Source:  SSB / Norway Today

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