The report presents the development of key indicators from before the first incidence of COVID-19 in March 2020 until Q3 2021 – and in some cases Q4 2021. The objective is to compare how the five Nordic countries performed during what can be described as the first phases of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the time of writing, it is unclear how the situation will evolve in the following months and years. Thus, this report is a snapshot of the state of the Nordic societies just before and during the pandemic up until the time when the majority of the population in the Nordic countries was vaccinated. As time progresses, more data of a final character will be available, and it will be possible to evaluate and describe in more depth the developments during the whole COVID-period – and in the aftermath of the full reopening of the societies. Data management for this report ended in April 2022, and later revisions and updates are therefore not taken into consideration.

The report focuses on four themes: health; macro economy; businesses; and the labour market. The data sources vary, but the report mainly relies on data, which are harmonized and comparable on a European scale combined with data from the National Statistical Offices and OECD. Yet, the comparison of the five countries is not solely straightforward, and is considerably challenging in relation to new data concerning COVID-19. For instance, there was not necessarily a common understanding in the assessment of when COVID-19 was an underlying or contributing factor to death. Likewise, the COVID-19 support schemes differ in relation to requirements, periods and coverage, which makes it difficult to compare the figures across countries.

Statistics Denmark coordinated the project and the project group consisted of:

  • Statistics Denmark: Fenja Søndergaard Møller, Kamilla Elkjær, Peter Bøegh Nielsen and Søren Schiønning Andersen
  • Statistics Finland: Pontus Lindroos, Sini Liukkonen, and Kristian Taskinen
  • Statistics Iceland: Olafur Sigurdsson and Anton Örn Karlsson
  • Statistics Norway: Geir Hjemås
  • Statistics Sweden: Lars Werke

The project group held several meetings and organised consultations with the relevant national domain experts in the Nordic statistical institutes in order to prepare this publication.