This study examined mortality differences and trends by several sociodemographic characteristics among the Finnish elderly aged 80 years or over during the period of 1971-90. The analyses were based on comprehensive data sets compiled by means of linking individual death records and census records for the entire population of Finland. Poisson regression was applied as the main statistical tool. For both sexes, life expectancy at age 80 was about 1 year longer among those with a higher education than among those with basic education. A similar difference was found between former upper nonmanual workers and manual workers. Slightly lower than average mortality was observed among the married, among those living in Western Finland, and among the Swedish-speaking population. Mortality declined during the study period in all subgroups, with no consistent signs of either convergence or divergence of mortality levels. The results suggest that at least some further decline of mortality even among the oldest old is possible.