EU excess mortality at low levels in March 2023


In March 2023, excess mortality in the EU increased slightly compared with the previous month and stood at +0.3 % above the baseline (average number of deaths for the same period in 2016-2019). This followed the positive developments of February 2023, when for the first time since February 2020 (pre-COVID-19 pandemic period), there was no excess mortality in the EU as a whole, with the indicator falling to -2 %.

In comparison, the excess mortality rate was almost 7 % in March 2022 (30 000 additional deaths), 11 % in March 2021 (33 000 additional deaths) and 14 % in March 2020 (47500 additional deaths).

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

In March 2023, 16 EU countries recorded no excess deaths. Among those, Latvia (-14 %), Romania (-13 %) and Bulgaria (-10 %) recorded the lowest excess mortality.

Among the countries that observed excess deaths, the Netherlands (+12 % above the national monthly average for 2016-19) and Greece (+10 %) recorded the highest excess mortality rates. They were followed by Ireland and Austria (both +9 %), Cyprus (+8 %), Spain and Malta (both +6 %), Portugal and Germany (both +4 %) and Denmark (+1 %).

The major peaks in excess deaths in the EU were registered in April 2020 (+25 %), November 2020 (+40 %), April 2021 (+21 %) and November 2021 (+27 %).


For more information:

Methodological notes

  • 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 European countries and allows for further analysis of the 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 identify differences between sex or age.
  • Eurostat has published data on healthcare provision and causes of death providing insight into health outcomes related to COVID-19 (online code: HLTH_CD_ARO).