Published: 25 May 2012

Number of families with children in slow decline

The total number of families with children in Finland was 581,000 at the end of 2011. The number was 1,800 lower than in the previous year. The decline was due to e.g. low birth rate, risen age at first con-finement and variations in age cohort sizes. At the turn of the year, the average number of children still living at home in a family with children was 1.83. Forty per cent of the population belong to a family with children. A family with underage children has at least one child under the age of 18 living at home.

Families with underage children by type in 1995–2011

Families with underage children by type in 1995–2011

The commonest family type, which 61 per cent of the families with children belong to, continues to be married couple with children. Nineteen per cent of the families with children were families of cohabiting couples. There were almost equally many families of mother and children, whose share was 18 per cent. The number of families with father and children continues to be very small. Under three per cent of all families with children consist of just father and children. In slightly over 300 families with children the parents are a registered same-sex couple.

At the end of 2011, the total number of families was 1,461,000. The number had grown by 5,500 from the previous year-end. The growth amounted to slightly more than in the previous year when it was 4,600. Altogether 75 per cent of the Finnish population, or 4,070,000 persons, belonged to a family. The number 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. Two-thirds of the families were families of married couples. Twenty-two per cent were families of cohabiting couples and 12 per cent were one-parent families. There were 1,800 families of registered same-sex couples. People living alone numbered 1,053,000.

At the end of 2011, there were 53,000 reconstituted families in Finland. The number of reconstituted families had grown by nearly one hundred from the previous year-end. Annual changes in their number have been small in recent years. Roughly one-half of the parents of the reconstituted families were cohabiting and one-half were married. A reconstituted family is a family with at least one child aged under 18 of just one of the parents. There were 77,000 of such children.

Families by type in 1990–2011

Type of family      1990 1995 2000 2005 2009 2010 2011 Change    2010–2011
Families total 1 365 341 1 382 970 1 401 963 1 426 002 1 450 488 1 455 073 1 460 570 5 497
Married couple without children 364 452 395 953 436 019 481 209 509 916 513 889 518 550 4 661
Married couple with children 640 062 579 578 514 868 468 266 448 897 446 433 442 257 -4 176
Cohabiting couple no children 123 471 135 996 160 132 180 590 193 894 195 967 200 171 4 204
Cohabiting couple with children 65 896 85 309 102 581 112 847 116 797 117 254 118 054 800
Mother and children 147 297 159 063 159 432 153 024 149 823 149 651 149 196 -455
Father and children 24 161 27 071 28 931 29 238 29 765 30 278 30 534 256
Registered male couple 1) . . . 398 625 706 773 67
Registered female couple 1) . . . 430 771 895 1 035 140
Family population 4 101 922 4 093 038 4 053 850 4 037 753 4 059 511 4 065 168 4 069 930 4 762
Population 31.12. 4 998 478 5 116 829 5 181 115 5 255 580 5 351 427 5 375 276 5 401 267 25 991
Proportion of family population 82.1 80.0 78.2 76.8 75.9 75.6 75.4 -0.2
Averige size of family 3.00 2.96 2.89 2.83 2.81 2.79 2.79 0.00
1) Families of the type “registered couple with children” numbered 351.

Source: Population and Cause of Death Statistics, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Marjut Pietiläinen 09 1734 2798, Timo Nikander 09 1734 3250, vaesto.tilasto@stat.fi

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

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Updated 25.5.2012

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Families [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-3231. 2011. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 22.9.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/perh/2011/perh_2011_2012-05-25_tie_001_en.html