Causes of death
08. Jun 2021
Fewer cardiovascular deaths – cancer figures unchanged

Mortality figures have changed significantly for both sexes over the past 20 years. There are now far fewer cardiovascular deaths, while the figures for the other main cause of death, cancer, have remained relatively stable.

The life expectancy in the Faroe Islands is on a steady rise. In 1999, the expected average life expectancy for newborn boys was 76.0 years, and for newborn girls it was 80.0 years. These figures have now risen to 80.6 and 85.8 years, respectively. In other words, life expectancy has increased by almost five years for men and almost six years for women over the past two decades.

Significant changes have also occurred in the causes of death. Far fewer people today die from the traditionally most common cause, cardiovascular diseases, while the figure for the other main cause of death, cancer, has remained relatively unchanged. The causes of death are now more varied than in 1999.


The latest figures, from 2019, reveal a big difference between the two sexes, with significantly more men than women dying of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. For other death causes, the difference between the sexes is less significant.



The trend over the past 20 years indicates that the biggest change for both sexes is a significant decline in the number of cardiovascular disease deaths. At the turn of the century, this figure was 80-90 per year for men, and now it has come down to just over 50 per year. For women, the annual figure was 70-85 two decades ago, dropping to below 40 in 2019.

The number of cancer deaths has only seen a slight increase over this period, more so for men than for women. It is, however, worth taking into account that the population has grown significantly over this 20-year period, with a particularly big rise in the number of elderly people.

There is now a significantly wider range of death causes, indicated by a big increase in the ‘others’ category, which is now almost as common as the two traditionally most common causes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. For women, the ‘others’ category has now become the most common cause of death. No particular disease dominates the figures in the ‘others’ category. The death causes are just much more varied now than they were 20 years ago.

The graphs below show the annual figures from 1999 to 2019.