Saturday 10/16/21

Traditional families continue to lose ground in Finland

There were 1,469,000 families in Finland at the end of 2018, this is 2,800 families less than one year before. The biggest decline was among those formed by opposite-sex married couples and children. And there were 1,191,297 persons living alone, this is 28,989 more than in 2017.

Family autumn

In Finland there were 1,469,000 families at the end of 2018, according to Statistics Finland's data. This total number of families continued on the downward path that started last year and declined by 2,800 families, according to the latest data published by Statistics Finland.

The numbers published by the Finnish statistical office show an important decrease in the so-called traditional family compared to other forms such as families of unmarried couples without children or those formed by people of the same sex.

Of the total existing families, 64% were families of married couples. The number of so-called traditional families, formed by opposite-sex married couples and children, suffered the biggest drop: they fell by 7,960 from the previous year. The number of families formed by cohabiting couples and children decreased also by some 600 families.

By contrast, the number of families formed by childless cohabiting couples increased by 2,530 and that of opposite-sex married couples by 1,900 families. The number of one-parent families increased slightly, that of families formed by a mother and children by 428 and that of a father and children by 676.

More same-sex couples

The number of same-sex cohabiting couples increased by 321, while the number of registered couples decreased by 192. Statistics Finland considers this development as "a natural continuum of the amendment to the Marriage Act that entered into force at the beginning of March 2017, as a result of which part of registered partners have changed their partnership into marriage and new registered partners can no longer be formed".

The number of families of registered couples was 1,282, or 192 lower than one year previously.

There were 1,980 families of same-sex married couples (0.1%). Of them, 66 per cent were families of female couples.

Twenty-three per cent of families were still families of cohabiting couples and 13 per cent one-parent families, which is the same as in the previous year. In 2018, there were 1,191,297 persons living alone, this is 28,989 more than in 2017.

Fewer families with children

The average size of a family was 2.75 persons in 2018. As late as in 1990, the average size of a family was three persons.

Seventy-three per cent of the population, or 4,034,000 persons, belonged to a family, which is 21,503 fewer than in the year before. The share of persons who belong to a family has been falling steadily. As late as in 1990, their share of the population was still 82 per cent.

The total number of families with children was 562,000. The number also declined, by 4,300, from the year before. The decrease is bigger than last year's and clearly bigger than on average in a good decade, when the annual decrease has been around 2,000.

A family with children has at least one child under the age of 18. The decrease in the number of families with children mainly indicates that "the age groups of children coming of age is larger than the new age groups being born", concluded Statistics Finland.

38% of Finns belong to a family with children

A total of 38 per cent of the population belonged to a family with children. The commonest family type of families with children is still a family formed of a married couple of opposite sexes, making up 58 per cent of families with children.

One-fifth of families with children were families of cohabiting couples. There were almost equally many families of a mother and children, whose share was 19 per cent. The number of families with a father and children was still very low, three per cent.

A same-sex married couple was a parent in 500 families with children and a registered couple in 285 families with children.

Number of children declining

There was a total of 1,038,000 underage children in families with children, 4,300 down from the previous year. The average number of children was 1.85 in families with children. The figure has remained stable, although the number of children has declined.

Of families with children, 43 per cent had one child, 39 per cent two children and 13 per cent three children. Five per cent of families with children had at least four children aged under 18. The shares have remained unchanged.

At the end of 2018, there were 50,700 reconstituted families. A reconstituted family is a family with at least one child aged under 18 of only one of the parents. The number of reconstituted families went down by 598 from the previous year. Roughly one-half of the parents of reconstituted families were cohabiting and one-half were married.

On average, reconstituted families have two children or slightly more than families with children in general. Fifty-nine per cent of the children were brought into the family by their mother.