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Published: 5 November 2007

Leading causes of death among working-age people still alcohol-related

In 2006 a total of 7,475 men and 3,155 women died in working age, that is, they were aged 15 to 64 years. The leading cause of death was an alcohol-related disease or alcohol poisoning, which resulted in the deaths of 1,300 men and 354 women.

For a few years already alcohol-related mortality has been more common than ischaemic heart disease mortality (see figures below) . Alcohol-related mortality increased clearly in 2004 for both men and women and continued to increase somewhat during 2005. However, the increase seems to have halted in 2006. Ischaemic heart disease mortality among working-age men has dropped to one-third over the past two decades. Breast cancer and alcohol-related causes were leading causes of death among working-age women both in 2005 and 2006. Women's breast cancer mortality has stayed nearly level over the past two decades, but alcohol-related mortality has more than doubled over the same period.

Leading causes of death ages 15-64 by sex, 2006

Men Numberof     Women Number of  
Rank Cause of death deaths % Rank Cause of death deaths %
1. Alcohol-related deaths 1,300 17.4 1. Alcohol-related deaths 354 11.2
2. Ischaemic heart disease 1,244 16.6 2. Breast cancer 353 11.2
3. Accidents of 997 13.3 3. Accidents of 230 7.3
  which       which    
  - land traffic 170 2.3   - land traffic 53 1.7
  - falls 260 3.5   - falls 42 1.3
4. Suicides 663 8.9 4. Suicides 206 6.5
5. Lung cancer 403 5.4 5. Cerebrovascular disease 202 6.4
6. Cerebrovascular disease 305 4.1 6. Ischaemic heart disease 184 5.8
  Other causes 2,563 34.3   Other causes 1,349 48.5
  Total deaths at ages 15-64, men 7,475 100.0   Total deaths at ages 15-64, women 3,155 100.0

Women clearly outlive men: the number of women who die in working-age is less than one-half of the number of men. It means that women's mortality per 100,000 persons is 152 while the corresponding number for men is 366.

Life expectancy has increased in the past decades, which leads to rapid growth of the older age groups. Eighty per cent of men and 91 per cent of women now reach the age of 65 or older. The age of 80 is reached by nearly one-half of men and 70 per cent of women. Life expectancy has lengthened primarily as the result of decrease in diseases of the circulatory organs.

The leading causes of death among the elderly are ischaemic heart disease and other diseases of the circulatory organs. As life expectancy grows longer, dementia (incl. Alzheimer's disease) has become more common. It already causes 15 per cent of the deaths among persons aged 65 or older and as many as 80 per cent of deaths among persons aged 80 or older.

In 2006 the number of accidental deaths was 3,084 of which 2,070 were men and 1,014 women. The victim of every fifth accident was intoxicated. Another factor exposing to accidents was age: 23 per cent of accident victims were over 80 years of age.

The number of suicides in Finland was 1,062 in 2006. Of these, 803 were men and 259 women. The number of suicides was at its highest at the turn of the 1990s, at which point 1,500 suicides were committed per year. In 2005 the number of suicides was at its lowest in decades; it stood at less than 1,000.

Source: Cause of Death Statistics 2006

Inquiries: Ms Helena Korpi +358 9 1734 3605, Mr Mauno Huohvanainen +358 9 1734 3296,

Director in charge: Mr Jari Tarkoma


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Last updated 5.11.2007

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Causes of death [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-5078. 2006. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 23.7.2024].
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