4. Regional differences in prevalence of types of families with underage children

4.1 Number of cohabiting couples highest in Åland and Kainuu

The commonest type of family with children in all regions is one of a married couple although there are also clear differences in this. The proportion of married couples with children of all families with children varies by region between 65 per cent in Central Ostrobothnia and 47 per cent in Åland. The differences between regions arise from the prevalence of families of cohabiting couples and one-parent families. In relative numbers, most cohabiting couples are found in Åland, Kainuu and Lapland. In Åland, 32 per cent and in Kainuu, 27 per cent and in Lapland, 24 per cent of all families with children are families of cohabiting couples. The lowest share of cohabiting families in Finland is found in Uusimaa, 18 per cent.

Figure 7. Families of cohabiting couples as a proportions of families with underage children by region in 2018

 Figure 7. Families of cohabiting couples as a proportions of families with underage children by region in 2018

4.2 Least one-parent families with children in Ostrobothnia and most in Kymenlaakso

There are fairly big regional differences in the prevalence of one-parent families with children. There is least one-parent families with children in Ostrobothnia, where 15 per cent of families with children have only one parent. There were 26 per cent of one-parent families with children in Kymenlaakso, which is the highest share in Finland. After Kymenlaakso, the relative share of one-parent families with children was highest in Päijät-Häme (25%) and Uusimaa (24%). After Ostrobothnia, the proportion of one-parent families with children is lowest in Central Ostrobothnia (16%) and South Ostrobothnia (18%). (Figure 8.)

Figure 8. Proportion of single-parent families of all families with underage children by region in 2018

Figure 8. Proportion of single-parent families of all families with underage children by region in 2018

The differences between regions in the proportion of one-parent families with children is mainly caused by the different shares of families of a mother and children that varied from 22 per cent in Kymenlaakso to 13 per cent in Ostrobothnia. The proportion of families of the type father and children ranges from three to four per cent in all regions. In relative terms, there were most families with a father and children in Åland (4.4%) and South Karelia (4.1%), least in Ostrobothnia (2.5%) and Central Ostrobothnia (2.7%).

Examined by municipality in Mainland Finland, the proportions of one-parent families with children are highest in Hartola, Imatra and Multiala (28.6% in all). The share of one-parent families with children is almost as high in Turku (28.0%), Helsinki (27.8%) and Kemi (27.6%) The percentages were also high in several municipalities of Åland. A majority of the municipalities in question have such low numbers of families with children that even a small change in the numbers of types of families can result in large differences in the percentages. The share of one-parent families is 26 per cent in Mariehamn.

In relative terms, Luoto (6.2%) and Pedersöre (7.7%) have the lowest number of one-parent families with children in Mainland Finland.

Luoto could be viewed as the most conventional municipality in terms of family structure, because it has the lowest proportion of one-parent families with children (6.2%) and correspondingly, the proportion of married couples (86.8%) is highest in the whole country. Most underage children living in families with children can be found in Lumijoki, Perho and Sievi (on average 3.0 underage children for each municipality). The average for the whole country is 1.85.


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, 4. Regional differences in prevalence of types of families with underage children . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 14.4.2021].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/perh/2018/02/perh_2018_02_2020-01-31_kat_004_en.html