Further increase in male life expectancy


From 2015 to 2016, the life expectancy at birth for men increased by 0.25 years, while the increase for women was just 0.02 years. Men can expect to live 80.6 years on average and women 84.2 years. The gender gap is now 3.6 years.

Life expectancy at birth is determined by deaths at all ages, but deaths in early age have the greatest consequence. One hundred years ago, life expectancy was about 25 years lower. This was particularly due to higher infant mortality and a high mortality rate among the younger elderly age groups, especially men. Today, the vast majority of deaths occur in old age. The greatest contributor to the increase in life expectancy at birth is therefore the increased age at mortality.

Figure 1

Figure 1. Life expectancy at birth for males and females. Norway

Life expectancy on the whole has increased continuously every year since Norway started to estimate life expectancy. Life expectancy has always been higher for women than men. From the mid-1950s to the 1980s, the gender disparity in life expectancy increased considerably, from about 2.5–3.5 years to about 6.8 years. Around 1985, life expectancy for men again started to increase, and during the last 30 years the gender gap has decreased. In 2016, the gender gap was 3.6 years. Nevertheless, there is an increase in the life expectancy for both sexes. In 2016, the remaining life expectancy for men increased slightly more than for women in all age groups up to around age 85. This has helped to reduce the gender disparity in life expectancy at birth and the remaining life expectancy.

Figure 2

Figure 2. Life expectancy at birth  for males and females for a selection of countries. 2014

Japanese women with highest life expectancy

Norway is among 10–15 countries in the world with the highest life expectancy at birth. According to WHO, girls born in Japan in 2015 could expect to reach 86.8 years. Figures from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, indicate that in 2014, Iceland had the highest life expectancy at birth for women (84.5 years) in the Nordic region, followed by Sweden and Norway with 84.2 years. In a European context, girls born in Spain and France have the highest life expectancy at birth, with 86.2 and 86.0 years respectively.

Figure 3

Figure 3. Number of deaths by sex and age at death. 2016

Low mortality numbers

In 2016, 40 726 persons died in Norway; 21 043 women and 19 683 men. This is almost the same number as the year before. A total of 57 fewer men and 56 more women died in 2016 than the year before. During the last ten years, the annual number of deaths has been between 40 500 and 42 000, which is the lowest since the 1990s. Since the end of the 1990s, more women than men have died because there are more elderly women than men in Norway. The average age of death among men and women is 76.1 and 82.1 years respectively. Ten years ago, the corresponding ages were 74.7 and 81.2 years.

Figure 4

Figure 4. Deaths. Males and females

Lowest infant mortality ever recorded

In 2016, the infant mortality rate for both sexes was 2.2 children per 1 000 live births. This is the lowest rate ever registered in Norway. A total of 128 children below the age of 1 died; 71 boys and 57 girls. In 2016, the mortality rate for boys was 2.3 and 2.0 for girls. In 2015, this rate was 2.6 and 2.1 respectively. Since there are very few deaths among children under the age of 1, random factors will impact on the rate from one year to another.

Figure 5

"Figur 5. The share of deaths below age 1 per 1 000 live births