The Finnish middle class has neither lost its economic power, nor witnessed a decline in earnings over the past couple of decades, reports the Finnish Business and Policy Forum (EVA).
Ilkka Haavisto, the head of research at EVA, highlights in his analysis that the disposable income of the middle class has crept up by an average of two per cent a year between 1995 and 2016, translating to an aggregate increase of 45 per cent.
The disposable income of the upper class, in turn, rose by 49 per cent and that of the lower class by 36 per cent over the past two decades.
EVA points out that employment is a key characteristic of the middle class, as wage earners employed on a full-time basis and living in single-person households earn enough to gain admission to the middle class almost irrespective of occupation. In 2016, it explains, the middle class consisted of wage earners with monthly gross income of 1,900–6,400 euros.
The Finnish middle class accounts for over two-thirds (68%) of the population at large, making it proportionally one of the largest in Europe.
Haavisto also calls attention to another key characteristic – the fact that it is possible to rise into, fall out of and break out of the middle class in Finland. “What is most important is that 48 per cent of people in the lowest decile move to a higher income decile every three years, some even to the highest deciles,” he says.
EVA utilises the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) definition of the middle class for its analysis. The OECD defines middle-class households as households with disposable income of 75–200 per cent of the national median.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi