NOT A SINGLE Finnish province will record more births than deaths 15 years from now unless the birth rate rebounds from its current record-low level, indicates a much anticipated population forecast published on Monday by Statistics Finland.
The Finnish population, the forecast shows, will begin to decline in 2031 and be roughly 100,000 lower than the current 5,525,000 in 2050.
Statistics Finland on Monday reported that last year the population increased in four provinces and Åland Islands. The only mainland provinces that are expected to be growing in 2035 are Uusimaa and Pirkanmaa, the former of which is expected to be the only province with a growing population five years later.
The number of municipalities where the number of births exceeded that of deaths stood at 60 in 2018, but it is projected to plunge to 35 by 2030 and to 12 by 2040. There are a total of 311 municipalities in Finland.
The forecast is based on the assumption that the country will register a migration gain of 15,000 per year and that the total fertility rate will remain at its current level of 1.35. The total fertility rate is defined as the mean number of children women would give birth to during their lifetime if they passed through their childbearing years conforming to the age-specific fertility rates.
“It is a harsh assumption, but it reflects the current birth rate. Based on the preliminary statistics, the birth rate assumption for Finland in 2019 is 1.32–1.34,” the statistical bureau reported.
Statistics Finland has downgraded its assumption of the birth rate projection after projection: it estimated last year that the birth rate will stand at 1.45 and at the turn of the decade that the rate will stand at 1.87.
The decrease in the number of births is set to accelerate the contraction of the working-age population as of the 2040s. The working-age population is projected to contract by 132,000 between 2041 and 2050 and by 163,000 between 2051 and 2060, when it is projected to stand at 3.19 million people.
There are currently some 3.6 million working-age people in Finland.
The proportion of working-age people is similarly expected to decline from the current 62 per cent to 60 per cent in 2040 and 57 per cent in 2060. The expected proportions are higher than in the two previous forecasts because the low number of births is to cause the total population to start declining earlier than expected.
The preliminary statistics also show that a total of 30,431 children were born in Finland between January and August 2019, representing a decrease of 2,014 births from the corresponding period in 2018.
The Finnish population grew by 6,468 people in the first eight months of the year, driven exclusively by a net migration gain of 12,071 people. Immigration was the only driver of population growth in the country also in 2018.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi