Demographer; Teacher of applied Statistics and Demographic Methods

Sven Drefahl,
Senior Lecturer in Demography

I am a Senior Lecturer in Demography and my research spans a range of interdisciplinary topics at the intersection of Demography, Sociology, Epidemiology, Public Health, and Statistics.

I am currently studying the relationship between migration and mortality, determinants of COVID-19 mortality, and more generally the ageing of the Swedish population. The majority of my research is based on individual-level register data of the total Swedish population. Beyond that I am also interested in international trends of health and mortality and demographic methods.

I am currently teaching demographic methods and statistical methods at the advanced level. Given that I am a Demographer using mainly longitudinal register data I have expert knowledge on most flavors of hazard regression (aka survival analysis, aka event-history analysis). I have also a longstanding interest in demographic micro-simulations.

Sven Drefahl

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Photo: Östergötland, Sweden, close to Gunnar Andersson’s farm
Credit: Sven Drefahl

Latest publication

Martin Kolk, Sven Drefahl, Matthew Wallace, Gunnar Andersson
Excess mortality and COVID-19 in Sweden in 2020: A demographic account
Vienna Yearbook of Population Research 20, 1-32

In this study, we provide an account of mortality levels in Sweden in 2020, focusing on both excess mortality and mortality due to COVID-19 deaths. We present various measures of life expectancy for women and men based on age-specific death rates in 2020. Our measures of excess mortality are based on comparisons with benchmarks derived from a previous mortality forecast for 2020 by Statistics Sweden and observed average mortality rates during 2017–2019. For example, the figure on the right shows the life expectancy changes by region in the first pandemic year 2020 as compared to the average life expectancy observed during 2017-2019. In the study we decompose excess mortality in 2020 into excess mortality due to COVID-19 and excess mortality attributable to other causes. We also provide some estimates on the impact of excess mortality in 2020 on the remaining life expectancy for different cohorts of women and men in Sweden. We demonstrate that the impact of COVID-19 mortality was concentrated at higher ages, and among men in particular. Conversely, some younger age groups experienced negative excess mortality. The mortality changes during 2020 caused life expectancy levels to revert back to those observed in 2018 for women and in 2017 for men.