Key figure page

Key figures for health

How much do we smoke and how much snuff do we take? How often do we go to the doctor? How many are living in a nursing home? And how much is spent on health in Norway? Brief facts are presented here about health, lifestyle habits and use of health services.

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Key figures for Health
Value Change from year before Change from 5 years ago Year
1Change given from 4 years previously
2Change is given in percentage points
3Change given from 3 years previously
Health conditions and lifestyle habits
Life expectancy 82.4 0.2 1.4 2016
Share who are overweight or obese 28 - 1 201512
Share who take snuff daily 10 0 1 20162
Specialist health service
Discharges after bed-days 858 580 0.7 -11.8 2016
Day cases 414 827 -0.4 -13.2 2016
Out-patient consultations 8 862 465 1.4 24.5 2016
Municipal health care service
Residents in institutions 42 644 -0.5 -1.8 2016
Users of home-based services 185 505 1.6 4.7 2016
Regular GP agreements 4 692 2.0 11.4 2016
Health accounts
Health expenditure. NOK billion 326 4.7 18.7 20163
Health expenditure per capita. NOK 62 186 3.8 15.2 20163

Health conditions

Life expectancy has increased by almost 25 years over the past 100 years. In 2015, life expectancy was 80.6 years for men and 84.2 years for women.

More years of good health. Thenumber of healthy life years is increasing for both men and women, and since 2005 has increased more than the life expectancy. This means a greater share of our lives is spent in good health than before.

Most people are satisfied with their own health. Eight out of ten of the Norwegian population report having good or very good health. This is the same level as in Sweden, but higher than the EU average (28 countries), which is 66 per cent.

Women take more sick leave. The seasonally-adjusted and flu-adjusted sickness absence has been fairly stable in recent years. Women take more sick leave than men, and more women than men receive disability pension. In June 2016, 11.3 per cent of women and 7.8 per cent of men aged between 18 and 67 years received disability pension.

Accidents at work. In 2014, 61 fatal accidents at work were reported, of which 58 of the fatalities were men. Of a total of  24 000 reported accidents at work, 40 per cent led to absence of more than three days. 

Life expectancy and healthy life years

Lifestyle habits

Share of daily smokers and share with BMI > 30

Fewer smokers. In 1973, half of all men smoked daily. At that time, there were fewer women smokers than men, but since the mid-1990s, the gender disparity has been fairly small. In 2016, 12 per cent of the adult population were smokers, and 10 per cent used snuff.

Putting on weight. In the last 20 years, Norwegians have become heavier. About 12 per cent of the population are now obese, compared to 5 per cent in 1995. If we add those who are overweight but not classed as obese, the figure is about 30 per cent.

We are exercising more. In 2015, 16 per cent of the population said they never exercised, compared with 27 per cent in 1998. Seven out of ten did some form of exercise at least once a week in 2015.

Children and adolescents eat the least fish. Six per cent of the population eat fish or seafood daily, including as a sandwich filling. Fish consumption rises with age. Fifty-five per cent eat vegetables at least once a day.

We are drinking more. Thirty-two per cent of the adult population drank alcohol twice a week or more in 2015, compared with 11 per cent in 1998.

Fewer are drinking fizzy drinks. In 2015, 15 per cent of the population drank sugary drinks once a day or more, compared with 18 per cent in 2005. Children and adolescents drink the most.

Health services

Organisation of the public health service. Local authorities are responsible for nursing and care services. They also offer examinations by GPs and health centres, in addition to other services. The State owns the regional health enterprises, which are responsible for hospitals and specialised medical services, mental health care and substance abuse treatment. The county authorities are responsible for the public dental service.

FTEs in the specialist health service have increased by 2 per cent since 2015. Of the 122 000 FTEs in the specialist health service, general medicine accounted for almost 70 per cent, and mental health care for about 20 per cent.

Many work in nursing and care. The municipal health care service includes almost 150 000 FTEs, of which 90 per cent is made up of nursing and care workers. The remaining FTEs include, for example, GPs, health visitors and physiotherapists.

Focus on mental health and substance abuse in the local authorities. The number of FTEs performed by individuals with qualifications in mental health care has increased every year since 2009.

Contracted man-years unadjusted for long term leaves

Specialist health service

Total expences by service area. 2015

Physical illness and injury cost the most. Six out of ten NOK are spent on treating physical illnesses and injuries. By comparison, about two out of ten NOK go to mental health care and substance abuse treatment.

Four in ten visit a hospital. During a typical year, about four in ten Norwegians are treated at a general hospital. The majority of patients receive treatment during an out-patient consultation or as a day-care case. There has for many years been a shift away from in-patient treatment, i.e. more patients are being treated without an overnight stay. New technology helps make this possible, including in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

Longer stays in psychiatric care. In 2016, there were 3.3 million overnight stays in general hospitals, and 1.2 million overnight stays in mental health institutions. General hospital stays last an average of four days, while admissions in mental health care are an average of 21 days.

Drug treatment common in the private sector. Treatment for substance abuse is more often carried out in private institutions compared with general and psychiatric care. The government pays, but private operators provide treatment. Nearly four out of every ten NOK spent on substance abuse treatment go to private operators, compared to almost one in ten NOK in general and mental health care.

Municipal health and care services

43 000 people were living in a nursing home or similar institution in 2016. Eight out of ten cases were long term. New nursing homes and departments with a higher standard are replacing old nursing homes, and an increasing number of the rooms are single rooms with private bathrooms.

180 000 receive home nursing care and/or practical assistance in the home. Practical assistance can entail home care or  user-controlled personal assistance. Twice as many hours are spent on those who receive practical assistance than those who receive home nursing care.

Younger users increased the most. The number of users under the age of 67 has doubled in the last 15 years. The under 67s now make up close to 40 per cent of the total 228 000 people who either live in nursing homes or receive home care services. In comparison, the age group 80-89 years accounts for less than 30 per cent.

There are about 4 600 GPs in Norway. On average, we consult our GP about  three times a year. Two out of five GPs are women.

Almost all children in Norway attend check-ups at public health clinics. Most people take their children to the relevant check-ups. Dental health care for children and adolescents is steadily improving; more than ever before have never had cavities.

Users of home help, home nursing and residents in institutions, by age

Health accounts

Health expenditure, by function of care, time and contents

Increased health care costs. Health expenditure has increased slightly faster than population growth in recent years. In 2015, health expenditure per capita was about NOK 60 000.

In 2016, about 10 per cent of Norway’s GDP was spent on health care services. Health expenditure as a share of GDP is often used in international comparisons of health expenditure. 

The public purse finances about 85 per cent of health spending in Norway. The Nordic countries generally have a high share of public funding. The OECD average was 73 per cent in 2015.

Most money is spent on medical treatment and rehabilitation. This includes, among other things, hospital services, doctor visits, dental visits and physiotherapy. The health service with the highest proportion of private funding is the dental service, while in-patient stays in hospitals are almost entirely paid for by the government.