The Swedish Health Care System in Comparison to the American Health Care System: Statistics and Rates.


When comparing the two health care systems, the Swedish health system appears to have a better overall system. Sweden's infant mortality rate is about 2.76 deaths per every 1000 live births. Greatly differing from this number, the United States rate is 6.26 deaths per 1000 live births. Although the United States infant mortality rate is largely due to the high number of pre-term births (1 out of 8). These rates are from the year 2007, while the chart below describes the infant mortality rates of 2004. Sweden's rate remained about the same, while the American infant mortality rate distinctively increased.


Although similar, Sweden's life expectancy rates for male, female, and overall population is longer than the United States. For Sweden, males end up living for about 78.39 years with women living a bit longer, around 83 years old. The total average of the two is about 80.63 years old. Not too far off, the United States men end up living for about 75.65 years while the women live to around 80.69 years. In total, the United States averages out to have a life expectancy of 78.11 years old. Despite only being two years of a shorter life than Sweden, if ever given the chance, majority of people would choose to live the extra two years. The slight difference does make an impact and reflects the health care systems of each country.

There are numerous risk factors that portray the positive or negative effects of the health care system in both Sweden and the United States. Sweden possesses 11.0% male and 14.0% female obese adults who are 15 years and older. In great contrast, the United States contains 31.1% males and 33.2% females all that are obese are at least 15 years old. The severe difference between the two countries portrays the major issue of consumption in America and begs the question of whether or not our health care system does enough preventative measures. In 2006, the tobacco consumption (based on the percentage of population 15+ who are daily smokers) slightly varied between the two nations. In Sweden, the tobacco consumption was about 14,5% while in the United States, the consumption rate was around 16.7%. Another comparable risk factor between Sweden and the United States is the access to improved drinking water source. In 2006, the percentage was based on both rural and urban areas out of a population of 1,000. Sweden was at 100% and the United States was around 99%. This is one of the few statistics in which both countries are closely similar.

One of the few statistics that the United States excels in is the suicide rate of 2005 (out of a 100,000 population, aged 0-69 years old). The United States had a rate of 269 suicides while Sweden had a slightly higher rate of 276.


In 2006, the hospital discharge rates (by diagnostic categories, all causes, per 100,000 population) for the two countries varied by about 4,000. In Sweden, the hospital discharge rate was about 16,248 while the United States rate was only 12,632. Sweden has mastered the idea of getting patients in and out of the hospitals quickly, allowing the hospitals to save more money and more people to be helped. The United States should think about adopting a quicker discharge approach in order to improve patient satisfaction.

One of the more disturbing differences in rates concerns infectious disease in both countries. The number of reported cases in 2007 of the mumps for Sweden was 46. However, the United States had a reported 715 cases. The outstanding difference between the two mirror the differences in health care for each nation.

Although the cancer populations (out of 100,000 population) is similar, the major issue lies within the change over time. In 1960, Sweden had a cancer population of 170.5 while the United States had a population of 169.3. In 2005, Sweden had a rate of 148.5 while the United States only had a rate of 157.9. Despite both countries decreasing the amount of cancer patients, Sweden has succeeded in further lowering the rate through their health care system.

The only statistic that both countries had the exact same numbers was concerning hospital beds. In 2000, both Sweden and the United States had a rate of 3.6 hospital beds per 1,000 people.

In 2002, rates for the number of physicians were similar; however, the rates for consultation with doctors was vastly different. In Sweden, there were 3.3 physicians per 1,000 people. In the United States, there were 2.3 physicians per 1,000 people. For consultation with doctors, Sweden only had 2.8 visits per person per year while the United States had an outstanding 8.9 visits per person per year.

Along the lines of prevention, despite similar rates, Sweden continues to prove to have the upper hand. The Immunization coverage among one year olds in 2007 chart below depicts how in 3/4 of the categories, Sweden contains higher rates of immunization.
United States
Measles : 96%
Measles : 93%
DTP3 : 99%
DTP3 : 96%
HepB3 : 4%
HepB : 92%
Hib3 : 99%
Hib3 : 94%

Continuing on the prevention rates, Sweden possesses a 66% rate for dental visits in the past year among two years of age and older. The United States rating is 61%.

In many of the comparable statistics, Sweden is only just barely ahead of the United States. However, the smallest difference in percentages makes a difference in the overall quality of health care. All of the small differences eventually add up to show how the statistically, Sweden has a better health care system than the United States.