Alcohol kills the most people in Värmland, while in Östergötland it is deadly tumors. Mortality in general is highest in Västernorrland. This according to a report by Socialstyrelsen (National Board of Health and Welfare) on the cause of the slightly more than 90,000 deaths in 2009. More women than men died, and almost three quarters of the people who died were 75 years or older. Cardiovascular diseases and cancer-related tumors are the most common causes of death, but the report also shows great regional differences—but few explanations.

“We have not looked in detail at the underlying factors,” says Charlotte Björkenstam of the Board. Mortality is defined as the number of deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. Mortality is highest in Västernorrland (with 1053 deaths) and lowest in Halland (with 848 deaths). These numbers have been recounted so that the average age makes no difference.


“The counties with forests have for a long time had more problems with cardiovascular diseases compared to the rest of Sweden. Social factors and employment may play a part,” says Göran Fahlén, division manager at Folkhälsocentrum in Västernorrland. He also points out that many in his district have had problems with diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.

When it comes to alcohol-related deaths, Värmland is on top with 32 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, while Jönköping’s county is at the bottom with 13 deaths per 100,000. Among women, lung cancer is now more deadly than breast cancer, and malignant melanoma (a type of skin cancer) is one of the cancers that is increasing the most. When it comes to tumor-related diseases, Östergötland and Örebro are on top and Gotland is at the bottom.