Danish men living five years longer compared to two decades ago

During that time, the overall expectancy has soared to 81.5, taking it past the average for the EU

Danish life expectancy has never been something to crow about. High drinking and smoking rates have historically taken their toll – particularly among men.

But over the last two decades, from 2002 to 2021, there has been a breakthrough according to a Sampension analysis of Eurostat figures, which has seen Denmark dramatically catch up other countries.

As of today, the life expectancy of a Danish new-born is 81.5 – a 4.4-year jump on 20 years ago.

And it is particularly men who are making inroads.

Highly reduced gap
Broken down, a new-born boy can now expect to live for 4.8 years longer than 20 years ago, and a new-born girl 3.9 years.

“Women generally live longer than men, and this applies both in Denmark and other countries. But men are catching up,” commented Anne-Louise Lindkvist, the head of market and customer advice at Sampension.

“If we look at developments at home, the difference between men’s and women’s life expectancy is now the smallest for over 60 years.”

Now above EU average
Over the entire period, the EU average has also risen, but only by 2.5 years from 77.6 to 80.1, which means Denmark has now overtaken it. During that time, only four other countries have seen a more substantial rise: Estonia, Ireland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein.

Both Norway (up 4.2 to 83.2) and Sweden (up 3.1 to 83.1) still have longer life expectancies, though.

“Danes’ life expectancy has increased significantly in recent decades and thus more than most other Europeans. The development is linked to a number of factors – including a generally improved public health here at home,” concluded Lindkvist.

“At the same time, life expectancy in Denmark has not been affected to the same extent by the corona pandemic as in most of Europe,” she added.