News in brief

Finnish language newspaper Helsingin-Sanomat reports that Finland has witnessed an exceptionally high rise in birth rates during the COVID-19 crisis. A comparison of fertility rates around the world indicates an overall decline in the number of births globally since last October. 

Finland’s birth rate has increased the most compared to 29 other developed nations in the West, making it one of the few countries to see a baby boom during this period. 

While Finland’s soaring fertility rates have been a subject of discussion for the past year, the new statistics have surprised researchers. There are significant regional differences in birth rates; however, the effects of the pandemic are reflected the least in Nordic countries, with only Sweden reporting a minor decline in the number of births. 

Tomáš Sobotka, a researcher at the Vienna Institute of Demography in Austria, revealed the results of the international comparison at an online event organised by the Family Federation of Finland (Väestöliitto) on Tuesday.

Sobotka said the situation in the Nordics is considerably different from Southern European countries such as Portugal, which saw a sharp drop in birth rates in December (nine months after the onset of the pandemic in Europe).

The only other European country that has witnessed a baby boom comparable to Finland’s is the Netherlands. According to Sobotka, Finland’s baby boom could be attributed to its limited restrictions and lack of curfews, which were prevalent in other countries during the pandemic. 

The country’s social welfare system likely played a part as well, as it offers ample support for those looking to start a family. Additionally, the latest figures could be especially high compared to 2019, when Finland registered a record low birth rate. 


Tahira Sequeira

Helsinki Times