Published: 24 May 2013

Number of large families with underage children has remained stable

The number of families with at least four underage children has remained quite stable in recent years and annual changes are small, a few hundred either way. In 2012, the number of families with at least four children grew by around one hundred families from the year before. The trend of the number of families with two and three children is falling and the number of families with one child has remained almost unchanged. At the end of 2012, an average of 1.83 underage children were living in families with children. The family statistics describe the size of families in Finland at a given moment and thus do not concern with the eventual number of children in families.

Number of children in families with underage children in 1950–2012

Number of children in families with underage children in 1950–2012

Thirteen per cent of families with underage children have three children and five per cent at least four children aged under 18. In relative terms, the number of families with at least four children is highest in North and Central Ostrobothnia. Their number is lowest in relative terms in Åland, Uusimaa, South Karelia and Varsinais-Suomi.

The total number of families with children in Finland was 578,000 at the end of 2012. The number was 2,100 lower than in the previous year. Forty per cent of the population belong to a family with children. The commonest family type, to which 61 per cent of the families with children belong, con-tinues to be a 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 is still be very small, under three per cent. In 400 families with children, the parents are a registered same-sex couple.

At the end of 2012, the total number of families was 1,466,000. The number has grown by 5,200 from the previous year-end. The growth was slightly lower than in the previous year, when it was 5,500. Altogether 75 per cent of the Finnish population, or 4,075,000 persons, belonged to a family. The share of persons who belong to a family has been falling steadily. As late as in 1990, their share of the population was 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 slightly under 2,000 families of registered same-sex couples. People living alone numbered 1,070,000.

At the end of 2012, there were 53,000 reconstituted families in Finland. The number of reconstituted families had decreased by 300 from the previous year. 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 76,000 of such children.

Families by type in 1990–2012

Type of family      1990 1995 2000 2005 2009 2010 2011 2012 Change    2011–2012
Families total 1 365 341 1 382 970 1 401 963 1 426 002 1 450 488 1 455 073 1 460 570 1 465 733 5 163
Married couple without children 364 452 395 953 436 019 481 209 509 916 513 889 518 550 523 221 4 671
Married couple with children 640 062 579 578 514 868 468 266 448 897 446 433 442 257 439 194 -3 063
Cohabiting couple no children 123 471 135 996 160 132 180 590 193 894 195 967 200 171 203 334 3 163
Cohabiting couple with children 65 896 85 309 102 581 112 847 116 797 117 254 118 054 118 136 82
Mother and children 147 297 159 063 159 432 153 024 149 823 149 651 149 196 149 143 -53
Father and children 24 161 27 071 28 931 29 238 29 765 30 278 30 534 30 714 180
Registered male couple 1) .. .. .. 398 625 706 773 829 56
Registered female couple 1) .. .. .. 430 771 895 1 035 1 162 127
Family population 4 101 922 4 093 038 4 053 850 4 037 753 4 059 511 4 065 168 4 069 930 4 075 094 5 164
Population 31.12. 4 998 478 5 116 829 5 181 115 5 255 580 5 351 427 5 375 276 5 401 267 5 426 674 25 407
Proportion of family population 82,1 80,0 78,2 76,8 75,9 75,6 75,4 75,1 -0,3
Averige size of family 3,00 2,96 2,89 2,83 2,81 2,79 2,79 2,78 –0,01
1) Families of the type “registered couple with children” numbered 418.

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: Riitta Harala

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Updated 24.5.2013

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Families [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-3231. 2012. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 27.6.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/perh/2012/perh_2012_2013-05-24_tie_001_en.html