News 28 Nov 2019

Free time is even more important to Finns than work

The latest leisure survey describes changes due to digitalisation and the internet, but also things that remain constant in people’s everyday life. Keeping in touch with friends has changed its form, and for many, travel is an increasingly important part of free time. However, spending time at holiday homes still holds its own among Finns’ leisure activities, also among the younger generations.

Statistics Finland’s leisure surveys have extensively examined Finn’s leisure time already for 40 years. “The sample of the leisure survey has covered the whole population aged 10 or over since the 1980s. This enables us to survey how children, young people and aged people experience everyday life”, says Researcher Riitta Hanifi from Statistics Finland. 

Less time spent with relatives and friends

According to the latest leisure survey, spending time with relatives has decreased considerably. In 2002, one in ten of the respondents to the leisure survey kept in touch regularly with more than ten relatives, in 2017 only six per cent did so. Seven per cent do not keep in touch with relatives at all.

Meetings between adult children and parents also occur clearly less often. In 2002, almost one-half of respondents met with their parents living elsewhere at least once a week, in 2017 only around one in three did so. Regular contact with parents by telephone or on the web has also decreased. “The use of social media does not seem to have increased contact between adult children and their parents”, says Riitta Hanifi.

Meeting up with friends has decreased, but more people than before keep in touch with friends by telephone or on the web. However, the number of friends has decreased compared to the survey 15 years ago. Now, only 28 per cent of Finns have more than five friends.  

Differences in social relationships are visible between different population groups. Thirteen per cent of unemployed persons and one in ten of those aged 15 to 24 do not keep in touch with relatives at all. Twelve per cent of those aged 75 and over and eight per cent of those living in sparsely populated rural areas have no friends. “The increasing general individualism may also increase the isolation from social relationships”, Hanifi states.

Domestic work – duty or pleasure?

According to the leisure survey, doing the laundry, clothing care and cleaning are the chores that both men and women most often see as routine and a duty. On the other hand, more than one-half of Finns see shopping, cooking and gardening as a joy and a hobby.

There are some differences between genders when it comes to favourite chores. Three of four women feel that, at least sometimes, shopping and gardening are also a pleasure and a hobby. Close on one-half of women think walking around shops and shopping malls is fun, whereas only one-fourth of men agree. Around 60 per cent of men feel that home repairs are a pleasure at least sometimes.

Several chores that are repeated often, such as cleaning, doing the laundry and cooking, are still more the responsibility of the women in families. Men, on the other hand, are usually responsible for home repairs.

“Domestic work still hinders the hobbies of women more than those of men, even though the gender differences have narrowed. Household work done by women and men is slowly becoming more similar both in terms of content and amount”, says Senior Researcher Hannu Pääkkönen.

Even more leisure trips are made, spending time at holiday homes still popular

The popularity of foreign travel has grown evenly during this millennium. In 2017, around 55 per cent of the respondents to the leisure survey travelled abroad, whereas 45 per cent made trips abroad in 2002.

Three-quarters of the people living in Greater Helsinki had travelled abroad in 2017, but only 40 per cent of those living in Eastern and Northern Finland.

Domestic tourism has also increased significantly in the past 15 years. According to the leisure survey in 2017, persons aged under 45 travelled most within Finland. Over 80 per cent of them had made domestic trips.

Spending time at holiday homes is still an important part of Finnish culture. People from Greater Helsinki travel slightly more often to a holiday home for a holiday than people elsewhere in Finland. Slightly more than one-half of the respondents from Greater Helsinki spent time at a holiday home, but also 45 per cent of the inhabitants in semi-urban and rural municipalities spent time at holiday homes.

Those aged 10 to 24 and 55 to 64 spent most time at holiday homes.

Eating at restaurants has increased, going dancing has decreased

The Finnish restaurant culture has changed over the last decades. Eating at restaurants has increased, but other get-togethers at restaurants have decreased.

In 2017, those aged 20 to 24 still visited restaurants the most, over 60 per cent at least once a month. However, young people’s visits to restaurants have clearly decreased, because in 2002 the share was almost 80 per cent.

Retirement-age people visited restaurants the least, good one-fifth never did so. However, retirement-age people are the only age group to increase their visits to restaurants, because in 2002, one-third of them never went to restaurants.

Going to open-air dances has decreased considerably from the beginning of the 1990s to this day. In 1991, nearly one-fourth of the participants of the leisure survey went to open-air dances, in 2017, only seven per cent. The biggest drop has occurred among young people and young adults. The popularity of open-air dances has increased only among those aged 65 and older. Their visits have almost doubled.

“Those who were middle-aged in the 1990s have probably continued to visit open-air dances as they grow older. People continue with the recreational activities they have learned in their youth as they grow older, but among younger people it is no longer as popular”, says Information Services Planner Miia Huomo.

Finns’ taste in music has become more diversified

In 50 years, pop music has risen from one of the most loathed musical genres to the most popular, and the glory days of Finnish tango are gone. Each generation and gender have their own favourites and dislikes.

According to the leisure survey, the musical genres most liked by Finns are pop, easy listening, rock, heavy metal and classical music. Domestic easy listening has been the favourite music of Finns already for decades, and the older the generation in question is, the more popular it is. Classical music is also most popular in the oldest age groups. However, women prefer classical music clearly more than men do.

In Finland, heavy metal is both very popular and very disliked. Men favour heavy metal clearly more than women and women dislike it clearly more than men.

The top three favourite music genres among boys aged 10 to 14 is rap, pop and electronic music and among girls it is pop, foreign pop and rap.

Pop music is clearly the most popular musical genre among women aged under 45. Among men aged 25 to 44, heavy rock and heavy metal clearly stand out. 

“Among those aged 15 to 64, the dividing line of musical preferences by gender runs approximately between the more soft-toned pop preferred by women and the more straightforward guitar rock preferred by men. On the other hand, the taste in music among men and women aged 64 and over is very similar, both regarding favourite music and disliked music”, says Senior Statistician Juha Haaramo.

Statistics on participation in leisure activities

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