Population and population trends

This part includes a general description of the population in the Nordic countries.


The population structure varies among the Nordic countries. Finland and Åland have the oldest population (24 to 25% aged 65 years or more) followed by Denmark and Sweden (20%). Greenland (25% aged less than 18 years) Faroe Islands (24%) and Iceland (22%) have the youngest population. 

The development in population growth varies among the Nordic countries. The natural increase has been largest in Iceland and the Faroe Islands the past decade. Denmark, Greenland, Finland, and Åland have had the lowest natural increase. Finland has had a negative natural population growth since 2017. In 2022, also Denmark and Åland recorded a negative natural population growth. In 2022, net migration contributed to population growth in all the Nordic countries with the exception of Greenland (latest data from 2020).

Life expectancy at birth in the Nordic countries has increased significantly. Even though women generally live longer, the difference between the life expectancy of men and of women has been reduced. Between 2010 and 2019, the growth in male life expectancy at birth was higher than two years in Finland and Norway. For women, the growth in life expectancy was under two years in all countries. Between 2019 and 2022, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the life expectancy did not deteriorate in Denmark or Sweden. The same was true for men in Faroe Islands and Iceland, while the female life expectancy decreased in these two countries. In Norway, the life expectancy in 2022 was 0.3 years shorter than 2019 for both men and women; for Finland, the decrease was 0.6 years for men and 0.7 years for women, mainly due to rapidly aging population.

The difference between male and female life expectancy has decreased, but women live three years longer than men in Iceland, Norway, and Faroe Islands, and four years longer in Denmark, Sweden, and Åland. The gender difference is largest in Greenland (4.7 years in 2019) and in Finland (5.3 years in 2022).

Population pyramids from the Nordic countries can be found in the file link below.