Back Excess mortality fell in December but remains high


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Excess mortality in the EU increased in the autumn of 2021, reaching a new peak of +26% in November and closing 2021 at +23%. Following a low of +6% in July, this indicator rose to +9% in August, +13% in September and +18% in October 2021 (compared with the averages of the same months in 2016 – 2019), remaining high in December 2021 (+23%).

The situation continued to vary across the Member States with available data: from +4% in Sweden and +5% in Finland and Ireland, up to +60% in Slovakia and +69% in Poland.

The EU registered previous peaks in excessive deaths in April 2020 (+25%), November 2020 (+40%) and April 2021 (21%). 

This information comes from data on excess mortality published by Eurostat today, based on a weekly deaths data collection. The article presents a handful of findings from the more detailed Statistics Explained articles on excess mortality and weekly deaths.

GIF: excess mortality in the EU, September 2020-December 2021 (% change compared with 2016-2019 average)

Source data: demo_mexrt


How did the situation evolve in your country?

Although excess mortality was observed during most of the past two years across Europe, the peaks and intensity of outbreaks varied greatly across countries. For further analysis, you can read the Statistics Explained article on excess mortality and use the interactive tool by selecting the country you would like to analyse. 

For more information:

  • Eurostat Statistics Explained article on excess mortality
  • Eurostat Statistics Explained article on weekly deaths
  • Eurostat dedicated page on population & demography
  • Excess mortality refers to the number of deaths from all causes measured during a crisis, above what could be observed in ‘normal’ conditions. The excess mortality indicator draws attention to the magnitude of the health crisis by providing a comprehensive comparison of additional deaths amongst the European countries and allows for further analysis of its causes.
  • Please note that while a substantial increase in excess mortality largely coincides with the COVID-19 outbreak, this indicator does not discriminate among the causes of death and does not catch differences across sex or age classes.

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