The number of births rose by 2.4 per cent from the previous year to 94 in September, according to preliminary statistics. (Irene Stachon – Lehtikuva)


PRELIMINARY STATISTICS indicate that a total of 94 children were born in Finland in September.

Sami Pakarinen, the chief economist at the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK), on Thursday expressed his delight with the preliminary statistics, highlighting that number of live births crept up by 2.4 per cent from the previous year.

He added that the positive development is likely to continue in the last months of the year due to an up-tick in the number of maternity packages granted between August and September by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela). Expecting mothers can apply for the package or financial support once the pregnancy has continued for roughly five months.

“[The number of packages] rose by 12 per cent in August and 14 per cent in September,” he stated on Twitter. “Maternity packages are typically indicative of births two to three months ahead.”

But is he rejoicing prematurely? No, says Anna Rotkirch, a research professor at Population Research Institute.

“I’ve been thinking that we’re bound to hit the low point at some point. And if this was it, then great. Also, a single month with a higher number of births is better than zero [months],” she reminded.

Rotkirch said she would be interested in finding out whether the increase is attributable to a particular age group and whether it stems from mothers giving birth to their first, or second or third child. If the increase stems from 35–39-year-old mothers having their first child, it could corroborate the assumption that women are planning on postponing having their first child rather than having fewer children altogether.

The decline in total birth rate has thus far been evident in all under-40 age groups.

She also has another possible explanation for the up-tick in the number of applications for maternity packages: the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship won by Finland in May 2019. “It may lead to a spike in February,” she said.

Iceland, she explained, registered a substantial increase in the number of births in the aftermath of the country’s football team making it all the way to the semifinal stage of the Fifa World Cup in 2016.

“It created big congestions at birth centres in Iceland. They had to bring people back to work from retirement,” said Rotkirch.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi