Sunday 12/5/21

Finland records lowest number of births since hunger year 1868

In 2019, approximately 2,000 children were born in Finland less than the previous year. And the number of deaths far exceeded that of births. Still, the arrival of immigrants allowed the country to increase its population by just 7,500 people.

For some years now, Finland has had a problem with its very low birth rate, that is not news. The news is that in 2019 the country registered its lowest number of births in approximately the last century and a half. The country only managed to increase its population in 2019 thanks to the arrival of immigrants.

Not even during the hardest years of the Second World War (or Winter and Continuation Wars, as Finns call their specific portion of suffering) were so few children born in Finland. According to Statistics Finland, in order to find a comparable birth rate we must go back much further, to the time when cities barely existed and this was a pure agricultural society, plagued by hunger in the years of poor harvests.

The 2019 birth figures bring us back well to those years. Because in 2019 a total of 45,597 children were born, which is 1,980 children less than in 2018. "Fewer children than this were last born in the hunger year 1868 and at the end of the 1830s," remarked Statistics Finland in a press release.

Las year the number of deaths was 53,559, which is 968 lower than one year earlier. Fewer people who die is always good news, but the worrying reality is that the number of births was 7,962 lower than that of deaths.

The combination of those variables (fewer births but even fewer deaths) suggest increasingly aging society. And that, combined with the expected increase in life expectancy, make up an explosive cocktail for the country. So much so that the Government is now looking for ways to attract foreign skilled labour in order to ensure the essential generational relay. Not only to ensure the payment of pensions of retirement, also to gain competitiveness, to maintain the productive fabric and to guarantee the welfare of the general population.

More immigrants than in 2018

According to Statistics Finland's latest figures, in 2019 the population increased by 7,568 persons and the reason for that was simply "migration gain from abroad." In fact, data show that the number of immigrants was 17,903 higher than that of emigrants.  

Altogether 32,428 persons immigrated to Finland from abroad and 14,525 persons emigrated. The number of immigrants was 1,322 higher and the number of emigrants 4,616 lower than in the previous year. In all, 8,564 of the immigrants and 9,865 of the emigrants were Finnish citizens.

According to preliminary data by region, the population grew only in Uusimaa, Pirkanmaa, Southwest Finland, North Ostrobothnia and Åland.