1. Altogether 73 per cent of the Finnish population belongs to a family

Families are classified according to whether the spouses are married, cohabiting or in a registered partnership and whether they have children. In addition to this, there are one-parent families as a separate category. In this classification, no limit is set as to the age of a child. Families with underage children, defined as families having at least one child under the age of 18 living at home, are discussed in Section 3. In the following examination, one-parent families are not only single-supporter families, as a person having the status of a child living with his/her mother or father may be of any age.

At the end of 2018, there were 1,468,681 families in Finland. The number is 2,819 lower than in the previous year.

Altogether 73 per cent of the Finnish population belongs to a family. The proportion has decreased by 0.5 percentage points from the previous year. The rate of its decrease has remained at this level since the beginning of the 1990s. The proportion of the family population was at its highest in the 1960s and 1970s, when 87 per cent of the population belonged to a family. The number of persons belonging to a family fell by 21,503 during 2018. The country's total population increased by 4,789 persons. At the end of 2018, the average size of a family was 2.8 persons.

Table 1. Family population and average size of family in 1950 to 2018

Year   Families
total         
Family
population
Popu-
lation
Proportion
of family
population,
%
Average
size of
family
1950 930 572 3 457 474 4 029 803 85,8 3,7
1960 1 036 270 3 855 037 4 446 222 86,7 3,7
1970 1 153 878 3 986 005 4 598 336 86,7 3,5
1980 1 278 102 4 023 091 4 787 778 84,0 3,1
1990 1 365 341 4 101 922 4 998 478 82,1 3,0
2000 1 401 963 4 053 850 5 181 115 78,2 2,9
2010 1 455 073 4 065 168 5 375 276 75,6 2,8
2012 1 465 733 4 075 094 5 426 674 75,1 2,8
2013 1 471 085 4 081 903 5 451 270 74,9 2,8
2014 1 473 666 4 084 001 5 471 753 74,6 2,8
2015 1 475 335 4 084 544 5 487 308 74,4 2,8
2016 1 475 583 4 072 565 5 503 297 74,0 2,8
2017 1 471 500 4 055 224 5 513 130 73,6 2,8
2018 1 468 681 4 033 721 5 517 919 73,1 2,8

The commonest family type in Finland is still a married couple without children, making up 36 per cent of all families in 2018. As recently as in 2004, the most common family type in Finland was a married couple with children of some age living at home. Twenty-eight per cent of all families were families of a married couple with children in 2018. The number of such families has been on the decline for a long time, whereas the number of married couples without children has been rising.

The number of married couples without children grew from the year before but the number of families with a cohabiting couple and children decreased. However, the relative share of families of cohabiting couples in all families was at the same level as in the previous year, 23 per cent. However, cohabiting couples without children still make up only 15 per cent of all families. Today, eight per cent of all families are cohabiting couples with children.

"Mother and children" families represent ten per cent of all families. “Father and children” families are still rare; they number only two in one hundred. Their relative proportion has not changed much over the past few years.

At the beginning of March 2017, an amendment to the Marriage Act entered into force, as a result of which part of registered partners have changed their partnership into marriage and new registered partners can no longer be formed. During 2018, a total of 250 persons converted their registered partnership into a marriage, which was clearly less than in 2017 when the new act entered into force, as then a total of 2,460 persons converted their registered partnership into a marriage. At the end of 2018, there were 586 male couples and 696 female couples in a registered partnership, which in total is 192 fewer than at the end of 2017 but 1,402 couples fewer than in 2016. The number of married male couples was 675 and that of married female couples was 1,305. Thus, there were 1,980 (0,1%) families of same-sex married couples. Of them, 66 per cent were families of female couples. There were 521 families of same-sex married couples with children.

Table 2. Families by type in 1950 to 2018

Year     Total   Married
couple
without
children 1)
Married
couple
with
children 2)
Co-habiting
couple
with
children
Co-habiting
couple
without
children
Mother
and
children
Father
and
children
Regis-
tered
male
couple 3)
Regis-
tered
female
couple 3)
1950 930 572 176 650 593 763 .. .. 137 803 22 356 .. ..
1960 1 036 270 207 897 678 822 .. .. 129 706 19 845 .. ..
1970 4) 1 153 878 260 562 722 001 6 800 19 100 126 394 19 021 .. ..
1980 5) 1 278 102 302 818 711 226 36 200 65 900 140 725 21 233 .. ..
1990 1 365 341 364 452 640 062 65 896 123 471 147 297 24 161 .. ..
2000 1 401 963 436 019 514 868 102 581 160 132 159 432 28 931 .. ..
2010 1 455 073 513 889 446 433 117 254 195 967 149 651 30 278 706 895
2011 1 460 570 518 550 442 257 118 054 200 171 149 196 30 534 773 1 035
2012 1 465 733 523 221 439 194 118 136 203 334 149 143 30 714 829 1 162
2013 1 471 085 525 933 434 571 120 040 208 264 149 110 30 955 905 1 307
2014 1 473 666 527 238 429 811 121 499 211 673 149 668 31 342 991 1 444
2015 1 475 335 528 539 424 185 121 657 215 620 150 274 31 452 1 023 1 585
2016 1 475 583 529 697 418 032 123 321 218 439 151 459 31 951 1 052 1 632
2017 1 471 500 531 575 412 497 123 234 217 644 152 460 32 616 640 834
2018 1 468 681 533 763 404 663 122 614 220 179 152 888 33 292 586 696
%
1950 100,0 19,0 63,8 .. .. 14,8 2,4 .. ..
1960 100,0 20,1 65,5 .. .. 12,5 1,9 .. ..
1970 4) 100,0 22,6 62,6 0,6 1,7 11,0 1,6 .. ..
1980 5) 100,0 23,7 55,6 2,8 5,2 11,0 1,7 .. ..
1990 100,0 26,7 46,9 4,8 9,0 10,8 1,8 .. ..
2000 100,0 31,1 36,7 7,3 11,4 11,4 2,1 .. ..
2010 100,0 35,3 30,7 8,1 13,5 10,3 2,1 0,0 0,1
2011 100,0 35,5 30,3 8,1 13,7 10,2 2,1 0,1 0,1
2012 100,0 35,7 30,0 8,1 13,9 10,2 2,1 0,1 0,1
2013 100,0 35,8 29,5 8,2 14,2 10,1 2,1 0,1 0,1
2014 100,0 35,8 29,2 8,2 14,4 10,2 2,1 0,1 0,1
2015 100,0 35,8 28,8 8,3 14,6 10,2 2,1 0,1 0,1
2016 100,0 35,9 28,3 8,4 14,8 10,3 2,2 0,1 0,1
2017 100,0 36,0 28,0 8,4 14,8 10,4 2,2 0,0 0,1
2018 100,0 36,3 27,6 8,3 15,0 10,4 2,3 0,0 0,0
1) Of families of the type “married couple without children”, 665 were families of male couples and 794 families of female couples in 2018.
2) Families of the type “same-sex married couple with children” numbered 621 in 2018.
3) Families of the type "registered couple with children" numbered 301 in 2018.
4) The breakdown of the census by type of family has been revised on the basis of interview surveys. (Aromaa, Cantell & Jaakkola: Avoliitto (Consensual Union), Research Institute of Legal Policy 49, Helsinki 1981).
5) The breakdown of the census by type of family has been revised on the basis of the 1981 register-based material on families and cohabiting couples.

1.1 The commonest family type for women aged 30 is married couple with children

Women's family types differ at different life stages. The most typical family type for women aged under 30 with family is "cohabiting couple without children". Already for women aged 30, the commonest family type is “married couple with children”. This is natural, as nowadays women give birth to their first child at the average age of 29.4 and contract their first marriage at the average age of 31.7. “Married couple without children” becomes the most typical family type for women only once they have turned 53. The families of the oldest women (at least 90 years of age) tend to include a child rather than a husband. However, only slightly over one-tenth (11%) of women of this age belong to the family population. In the light of family statistics, old age is different for men than for women. Forty per cent of the men aged at least 90 belong to families. Then the family is typically a married couple without any children living with them.

Figure 1. Families by type and age of wife/mother in 2018 (families with father and children by age of father)

 Figure 1. Families by type and age of wife/mother in 2018 (families with father and children by age of father)

Figure 2. Families by type and age of wife/mother in 2018 (families with father and children by age of father), relative breakdown

Figure 2. Families by type and age of wife/mother in 2018 (families with father and children by age of father), relative breakdown

Source: Population and Justice Statistics, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Marjut Pietiläinen 029 551 2798, Joonas Toivola 029 551 3355, Timo Nikander 029 551 3250, info@stat.fi

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma


Updated 31.01.2020

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Families [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-3231. annual review 2018, 1. Altogether 73 per cent of the Finnish population belongs to a family . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 14.4.2021].
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