Health, Money & Sex in Sweden


About this Gapminder video

In the first Gapminder video from Gapminder, Professor Hans Rosling shows how economic growth, public health and sexual rights have changed in Sweden during 300 years.

In only 6 minutes he shows life expectancy and GDP per capita of Sweden from 1709 to 2004. With trendalyzer graphics he compares historic Sweden with countries of today. 300 years of Swedish progress covers today’s disparity from Sierra Leone to Japan. Wheras education of midwives started in 1709 it was only in the 1970’es that family planning was included in their training. Sexual rights came late in Sweden compared to progress in health and wealth.

5 thoughts on “Health, Money & Sex in Sweden

  1. It’s interesting when he attempts to make out how everyone is equal that he uses stats displaying inequality! E.g. on this one he talks about how Sweden in 1800 was like Mozambique today – very poor etc. His graph shows massive inequalities, in this case, in GDP per capita. However, skip it to the videos where he talks about ‘equality’ and he will ‘out-contextualise’ some information so his graph makes everything look nice and equal.

  2. Unfortunately, the correlation he tries to make between sex education/family planning and increased life expectancy is not born out by his data. In fact, the greatest gains in life expectancy were made in the 19th century, and correlate identically with most other countries in Western Europe. If we accept his premise that sex education and family planning are necessary concomitants for high incomes and long life, then the data flatly contradict him, since life expectancy increases in Sweden are relatively flat throughout the 20th century, and almost absolutely flat for the period from the 1930s through today. Swedish income increases considerably, particularly after Sweden’s free market economic reforms of the 1980s, but Swedes aren’t living that much longer. And, worse in the long run, there are far fewer Swedes.

  3. I find that the correlation proposed by Prof Rosling seems very strong and to say that the correlation is not “born out of his data” demonstrates only a lack of understanding of what a correlation is.

    What poster Stuart Koehl also seems to overlook is that values such as life expectancy will have enforced ceiling effects ie everybody dies eventually of something. Therefore it is unfair to expect that life expectancy should continue to grow at a rate equal to that of an economic growth, which would have less restrictions. So while it may seem that life expectancy is stagnating, what is important actually is that more and more people are being able to live for a longer time in conditions that one assumes are continually improving eg more comfortable medical procedures, less invasive treatment methods etc. And on a side note what the data can not yet show is how the addition negative factors lower the ceiling of our life expectancies.

    It is extremely important to understand that as statistical analyzers we use the term correlation to say that the numbers indicate a connection between two variables, we can not say factor x caused y. Not yet anyway.

  4. Very interesting information! This information gives one hope that poorer countries will be able to follow the Swedish model without reinventing the wheel, at least as far as sexual education and health are concerned.

    Stuart Koehl, whoever he is, has clearly not read the graph correctly. Life expectancy in Sweden increased by about 20 years between 1810 and 1910, and by about another 20 years between 1910 and 2004, with very clear growth after 1930.

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