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03.07.19 | Tölfræði
There are considerable health differences linked to gender in the Nordic region, such as life expectancy, healthy life years, health behaviors, mortality, and morbidity risks. This is partly due to the socially constructed roles of men and women, and the relationships between them. These norms influence the health conditions individuals are susceptible to, as well as access to and uptake of health services.

Life expectancy at birth

The gender gap on life expectancy currently favours women, although there is a trend of declining differences between men and women. Life expectancy at birth is defined as how long, on average, a newborn can expect to live if current death rates do not change and is one of the most frequently used health status indicators.

Self-perceived limitations due to health problems

The indicator shows the self-perceived limitation in activities people experience due to one or more health problems.

Mortality rates from cancer

The gender gap in mortality from cancer remains large in the Nordic countries, with average mortality rates among men being higher than mortality rates among women. The good news is that this gender gap has narrowed since the mid-1990s as mortality rates among men has declined more rapidly. The gender gap in cancer mortality can be explained by a greater prevalence of risk factors among men, notably higher smoking rates.

Mortality rates from diseases of the circulatory system


Gender differences in suicide rates have been shown to be significant, with different rates of completed suicides and suicidal behavior between males and females. While women more often have suicidal thoughts, men commit suicide more frequently. This is also known as the gender paradox in suicide.

Absence from work for at least a week due to illness

The percentage of absence from the workplace due to illness for more than one week is generally higher for women than men with the widest gap in Norway and the narrowest in Denmark.