National Health Index
The healthiest Finns live in Ostrobothnia, in the Uusimaa wellbeing services counties and in Helsinki, while the sickest live in North Savo and North Karelia. The highest prevalence rates for work disability are seen in North Savo, Kainuu and North Ostrobothnia, and the lowest in Uusimaa.
These and other differences between the wellbeing services counties emerge from National Health Index data, now published for the first time and based on register data for the years 2019–2021. The indices and their various subcategories offer a wide view of the prevalence of illness and work disability in the individual wellbeing services counties relative to the Finnish population as a whole.
Slide set summarising the National Health Index results (in Finnish): National Health Index. Data for the wellbeing services counties, 2019–2021 (pdf, thl.fi)
Data on morbidity and work disability in the Finnish population
The National Health Index contains several indicators of morbidity and work disability in the Finnish population. The data behind the index are produced jointly by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Kela, the Finnish Centre for Pensions (ETK) and Statistics Finland.
The National Health Index includes an index of morbidity and disease-specific subindices as well as a work disability index and related subindices.
The index of morbidity consists of 10 disease categories. Its subindices portray the prevalence of cancers, coronary disease, cerebrovascular diseases, musculoskeletal diseases, severe mental disorders, accidents, memory disorders, pulmonary diseases, diabetes and alcohol-related diseases. In the index of morbidity, the prevalence of each disease category is weighted by the relevance of the disease category to the population’s mortality, disability and quality of life as well as the costs arising from the use of social and health services.
The work disability index consists of three components focusing respectively on
- work disability pensions
- sickness allowances
- favourable decisions on rehabilitation applications.
The index allows users to look at disability in the population as an aggregate measure comprising all three components. Each component can also be viewed separately as a subindex.
How are the data used and interpreted?
The National Health Index describes the health and work ability of the population of wellbeing services counties and municipalities in relation to Finland’s entire population (entire population = 100). The higher the incidence of morbidity or work disability in a region, the higher the index score.
The National Health Index comes in both age-standardised and non-standardised versions. The age-standardised version eliminates the impact of age structure on the results, thus making them suitable for cross-regional comparison, while the non-age-standardised index describes the actual disease burden in the region.
Along with the population age structure, the regional differences in morbidity and work disability are influenced by many other factors. Lifestyle habits, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, exercise, sleep, and eating habits have an impact on the statistics, but those habits are in turn the result of many different factors. Unemployment, personal finances and education are all reflected in the health and work ability of the population. Access to functioning social welfare and healthcare services is also important, as are cultural and genetic factors.
When comparing the index values, it is important to note that a well-functioning healthcare system may manifest as higher morbidity, given its more efficient diagnosis, detection and treatment processes. Similarly, work disability is linked to the availability of health services, which depends on such factors as the extent and coverage of occupational health services. The regional differences seen in the index of morbidity may also be associated with differences in data collection between wellbeing services counties and the transfer of such data to the THL’s Care Register for Health Care.
We recommend visitors accessing the disability index to use data visualisation only on a computer monitor. Data visualisation does not work on mobile devices and works only partially with screen reader software for the time being.
National Health Index data
The data for the National Health Index may be downloaded from the THL website.
Uusi Kansallinen terveysindeksi tulee tarjoamaan tietoa väestön terveyden ja työkyvyn tilasta (The new National Health Index will offer data on the population’s health and work capacity, in Finnish) (kela.fi)
Tel. 029 524 8868
Tel. 029 524 7989
Tel. 020 635 7885