Life and death in the Nordic Region

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How has the pandemic affected health and life expectancy?

On Nordic Day, 23 March, the biannual report “State of the Nordic Region” will be launched with a series of events across five Nordic countries. The Icelandic event will shed light on the COVID pandemic’s impact on health and demographics in the Nordic Region. The whole program will be in English.

The report  “State of the Nordic Region 2022” will reveal that, perhaps surprisingly, life expectancy for both sexes increased in Iceland, Norway, Finland, Denmark and the Faroe Islands in 2020, even though the general trend across Europe was a reduction in life expectancy. However, Sweden stands out as the Nordic country with the highest excess mortality – 8% in 2020. This had an adverse effect on life expectancy, which in the same year declined by 0.7 years for males and 0.4 years for females in the country.

The report will also show that, overall, there were 4% more deaths in the Nordic Region in 2020 compared to the average for 2015–2019. These and further insights from the report help us to gain a better understanding of how Nordic healthcare and healthcare co-operation fared during the pandemic. It is also important to put these figures into perspective and investigate the pandemic’s effects on both mental and physical wellbeing in the Nordic countries.

Panel discussion

Wednesday 23rd of March at 12.00 – 12.45

The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion at which the speakers will reflect on the new insights.

Keynote speakers

  • Dr. Nora Sanchez Gassen, Senior Research Fellow, Nordregio
  • Niviaq Korneliussen, winner of the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2021
  • Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, Icelandic Minister for Nordic Co-operation


  • Ragnar Freyr Ingvarsson, former senior physician for the COVID outpatient department
  • Isabel Alejandra Diaz, Student Council President at the University of Iceland
  • Eva Lindh, Chairman of the Nordic Council’s Committee for Welfare in the Nordic Region
  • Dóra Guðrún Guðmundsdóttir, Division Chief at the Directorate of Health

Eliza Reid, the First Lady of Iceland, will moderate the discussions.


Join the discussion in the Nordic house or watch the livestream.
See the entire program here.


Drinks and refreshments by SONO Matseljur will be served at 12.45.

The Norden Association is hosting an event later in the afternoon, see their program here.

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