Finland appears in all world rankings as one of the best countries to have a family. But paradoxically, the country's child population has been reduced year after year during the last decade.
According to the latest official figures the country recorded in 2019 its lowest number of births in approximately the last century and a half: 45,597. In order to find a similar birth rate we must go back to the famine era of 19th century.
The Population and Justice Statistics compiled by Statistics Finland show that in 2018 there were 1,037,995 children growing up in families, which was 8,341 fewer than in 2017. This means also that, compared with ten years before (2008) there were 33,805 (3%) fewer underage children been raised in Finnish families.
Statistics Finland detailed that the biggest drop in the number of underage children occurred in the South Savo region, where the number of children has decreased by 20%. In Kainuu, the number of underage children has declined by 18%.
In absolute numbers, there were most underage children in Uusimaa (Helsinki area), 323,103, and the number has grown by 5% there from ten years ago. The change in the number of underage children has also been positive in the Pirkanmaa region (Tampere and its surrounding area) and in Åland archipelago.
Dramatic fall among children aged under 3
But this fall is even more dramatic if the data referring to children under 3 years are analyzed. There was a total of 151,291 children aged under three at the end of 2018, which was 15% down from 2008.
The decrease in the number of children aged under three was relatively largest in Kanta-Häme, Kainuu and South Savo. In addition, the number of children aged under three also contracted by at least 20% in Kymenlaakso, South Karelia, Central Finland, North Ostrobothnia, Lapland and Satakunta.
6% less even in Uusimaa
By contrast, the drop was smallest in Uusimaa, 6%. The number of children aged under three only remained almost unchanged in Åland, where the share increased by 1%.
In relative terms, most children aged under three were found in Uusimaa and Åland, where 16% of underage children in families were aged under three.
The share of children aged under three was smallest in Kanta-Häme, Kymenlaakso, South Savo, South Karelia and Kainuu, 13%.
In ten years, the share of children aged under three among all underage children has declined in all regions. The biggest change has occurred in North Ostrobothnia where the relative share of children aged under three has declined by four percentage points.
The number of underage children is mainly affected by factors such as the birth rate, migration and the age structure of the population.
*Graphics included in this article by Statistics Finland.