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Documentation of statistics Preliminary population statistics

20.9.2022 valid documentation

Basic data of the statistics

Data description

The preliminary population statistics contain data on population changes and population structure. Concerning population changes, data are available on live births and deaths in Finland, migration within municipalities, intermunicipal migration, migration, marriages entered into and divorces granted, registered partnerships and registered partnerships ended in divorce, and on granted Finnish citizenships. The preliminary statistics are produced monthly.
 

Statistical population

Population permanently resident in Finland at the time of the event.
 

Statistical unit

Person in the preliminary structure and event in population changes. Each person has his/her own person number with which combinations with other individual-based data can be made.
 

Unit of measure

In the preliminary population structure the number of persons and in preliminary population changes the number of population changes.
 

Reference period

In the preliminary population structure the last day of the statistical reference month and in preliminary population changes from the beginning of January to the end of the statistical reference month.
 

Reference area

Data are available on Finland on the level of the whole country and by various regional divisions based on the division of municipalities in Finland.

The classification into regions and the statistical grouping of municipalities have been used since 1997. The respective categories used prior to this were province and type of municipality. Since 2000, the regional division of the statistical reference year has been used in the preliminary population statistics.
 

Sector coverage

Data on population changes are total data. Population changes concerning all persons permanently resident in Finland have been drawn from the Population Information System. In general terms, the Population Information System maintained by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency and the State Department of Åland can be regarded as very exhaustive in terms of persons. The preliminary population statistics cover population changes in accordance with international recommendations.
 

Time coverage

After the end of the statistical reference year, preliminary data are available until the final data are completed. During the year, preliminary data are updated for all months of the current statistical reference year. Final data are completed by the end of June of the year following the statistical reference year. Preliminary data should no longer be used when final data are completed.
 

Frequency of dissemination

The preliminary population statistics are published monthly on Statistics Finland's web pages. Preliminary data from previous months of the statistical reference year are revised monthly in connection with the latest release.
 

Accuracy, reliability and timeliness

Overall accuracy

The Population Information System maintained by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency and the State Department of Åland can be regarded as very exhaustive in terms of persons. To obtain a personal identity code, a person has to be registered in the Population Information System. It is practically impossible to live in Finland without a personal identity code. A personal identity code is needed in order to work legally, open a bank account, attend to matters with authorities, and so on.

Since the discontinuation of yearly checking of domicile registers in 1989, the Population Information System has been maintained only by notifications of population changes. The Digital and Population Data Services Agency has requested Statistics Finland to carry out a sample survey on the correctness of address data. Around 11,000 persons are asked whether their address in the Population Information System is correct. In the latest survey 2012, the address was correct for 98.9 per cent of the respondents.

Incorrect addresses influence population statistics by municipality only if the incorrect address is in a different municipality than the correct one. Only part of the incorrect addresses are in the wrong municipality.
 

Timeliness

The data are published in the latter half of the month following the statistical reference month.

Punctuality

The data have been published almost without exception on the target date, so there has been no time lag. If the release of statistical data is significantly delayed from the announced point of time, information about the delay is posted on the home page of the statistics.

Comparability

Comparability - geographical

Comparisons based on numbers can be made because the effect of regional mergers has been considered. It is common practice that the entire time series is updated with the temporally latest change. When population changes are proportioned to the population it is possible to make regional comparisons.

The regional division of the first day of the statistical reference year is used in the preliminary population statistics. The final population statistics of the previous year are, in turn, produced with the regional division of the year following the statistical reference year. Thus, the data of the preliminary statistics concerning regional mergers are directly comparable with the final figures of the previous year, not with the preliminary figures of the previous year.

The concepts of the preliminary population statistics do not differ from the concepts and classifications of international recommendations.

The time a person must live in the country before being accepted as an immigrant varies in the statistical systems of different countries. Therefore, it is difficult to compare the statistics on international migration in different countries to each other.
 

Comparability - over time

On the level of the whole country, the preliminary population statistics are comparable with the preliminary data of the previous year.

The regional division of the first day of the statistical reference year is used in the preliminary population statistics. The final population statistics of the previous year are, in turn, produced with the regional division of the year following the statistical reference year. Thus, the data of the preliminary statistics concerning regional mergers are directly comparable with the final figures of the previous year, and not with the preliminary figures of the previous year.
 

Coherence - cross domain

Statistics Finland’s other statistics use the data of population statistics as basic information on population. Thus, different statistics of Statistics Finland are consistent with each other as regards population data.

Data tabulated by other organisations than Statistics Finland are also produced monthly for different organisations from the Population Information System. The figures differ from Statistics Finland’s monthly preliminary data. The difference is due to different processing methods and the fact that the organisations producing the data tabulate data according to the register situation at the turn of the month, while Statistics Finland waits 8 to 10 days from the end of the month for notifications of changes before producing preliminary statistics on the situation at the end of the previous month.

Coherence - sub-annual and annual statistics

When the numbers of population changes are compared over the same period in the annual and preliminary statistics, the migration generated in the final statistics must be taken into account in international migration. The final statistics include generated immigrations for persons for whom no notification on immigration has been received but who have been registered as permanently resident in Finland. In the final statistics, emigrations have been generated for persons who, after examining signs of activity, have been deduced as having probably moved abroad. As a rule, these are persons born abroad without address data and who do not have economic activity in Finland. Because no generations are made in the preliminary population statistics, they increase the difference between the figures of the preliminary and final statistics.

Coherence - internal

Preliminary data on population changes have been published from the population statistics since the 1970s. The preliminary population statistics are an important point of reference for the final statistics. The final statistics on population changes do not usually differ significantly from the preliminary statistics. On the one hand, preliminary data are sought after for monitoring development of a phenomenon, and on the other hand, many municipalities and organisations use the data in their activities. The final statistics differ from the preliminary statistics mainly in that the data of final statistics are checked more closely than those of preliminary statistics and the final statistics contain more variables to describe the phenomenon.

The final emigration statistics include generated emigration (usually over one thousand cases) which derive from removals in the data on population structure. Persons without any signs of activity in any register are removed annually from the population structure data.
 

Source data and data collections

Source data

Data on population changes are total data. Finnish population statistics are based on the Population Information System maintained by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency and the State Department of Åland. The Digital and Population Data Services Agency updates data on population changes concerning persons permanently resident in Finland in the Population Information System. District courts update data on divorce decisions and divorce decisions of registered couples in the Population Information System, and the Finnish Immigration Service updates data on granted Finnish citizenships. The population includes those Finnish and foreign citizens living permanently in Finland even if they are temporarily abroad. After the end of each statistical month, Statistics Finland waits for notifications of changes for 8 to 10 days before compiling the preliminary statistics. Notifications of changes that arrive later are included in the next monthly statistics at the actual time when they occurred. Thus, the published figures for previous statistical reference months may change.
 

Data collection

Since 1975, Statistics Finland has obtained population data weekly from the Population Information System maintained by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency and the State Department of Åland. The acquisition of data is based on Statistics Finland's position as a statistical authority as decreed in law.

Frequency of data collection

The data are collected weekly.

Methods

Data compilation

The data contain background variables where missing or invalid values may occur. The data are imputed from other population data. Cases are not imputed.

Data validation

It is checked that there are no duplicate rows in the data. Missing or invalid values of background variables can be imputed.

Documentation on methodology

After the end of the statistical reference month, notifications of changes are still waited for 8 to 10 days before the preliminary statistics are produced. The main principle in waiting is as follows: The waiting period is 10 days if the 10th day of the month following the statistical reference month falls on a weekday. The waiting period is nine days if that day is a Saturday and eight days if that day is a Sunday. The production of preliminary population statistics is started in the week after the week including the 10th day of the month following the statistical reference month.
 

Principles and outlines

Contact organisation

Statistics Finland

Contact organisation unit

Social Statistics

Legal acts and other agreements

The compilation of statistics is guided by the Statistics Act. The Statistics Act contains provisions on collection of data, processing of data and the obligation to provide data. Besides the Statistics Act, the Data Protection Act and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities are applied to processing of data when producing statistics. 

Statistics Finland compiles statistics in line with the EU’s regulations applicable to statistics, which steer the statistical agencies of all EU Member States.  

Further information: Statistical legislation

Confidentiality - policy

The data protection of data collected for statistical purposes is guaranteed in accordance with the requirements of the Statistics Act (280/2004), the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and the Data Protection Act (1050/2018). The data materials are protected at all stages of processing with the necessary physical and technical solutions. Statistics Finland has compiled detailed directions and instructions for confidential processing of the data. Employees have access only to the data essential for their duties. The premises where unit-level data are processed are not accessible to outsiders. Members of the personnel have signed a pledge of secrecy upon entering the service. Violation of data protection is punishable. 

Further information: Data protection | Statistics Finland (stat.fi)

Confidentiality - data treatment

In population statistics, the identification data of an individual are pseudonymised, that is, the data of a person can no longer be linked to a specific person without additional information.

In accordance with data protection practices, rules concerning less detailed data are applied when distributing data by area if the table contains variables specified as sensitive. Then figures below the threshold value are not reported or they are not divided into categories of sensitive variables.

According to the Statistics Act, data released for research use must be edited into a form from which statistical units cannot be identified directly or indirectly. In order to prevent indirect identification, the key variables in terms of identification must be edited using statistical data protection methods suitable for the situation.
 
Releasing the sample instead of the total data is the main data protection method.
In addition to sampling, Statistics Finland has used, for example, less detailed classification of variables, removal of variables or suppression of the variable values received by an individual unit as data limiting methods.

Release policy

Statistics Finland publishes new statistical data at 8 am on weekdays in its web service. The release times of statistics are given in advance in the release calendar available in the web service. The data are public after they have been updated in the web service. 

Further information: Publication principles for statistics at Statistics Finland

Data sharing

The preliminary population data are available in the StatFin statistical database after the release. In addition, data on population changes by month of the event and municipality-based regional divisions are available as a charged service.

A separate compound statistics on population changes are produced annually from final data.

Data on preliminary population statistics are also delivered annually to Eurostat.

Accessibility and clarity

Statistical data are published as database tables in the StatFin database. The database is the primary publishing site of data, and new data are updated first there. When releasing statistical data, existing database tables can be updated with new data or completely new database tables can be published.   

In addition to statistical data published in the StatFin database, a release on the key data is usually published in the web service. If the release contains data concerning several reference periods (e.g. monthly and annual data), a review bringing together these data is published in the web service. Database tables updated at the time of publication are listed both in the release and in the review. In some cases, statistical data can also be published as mere database releases in the StatFin database. No release or review is published in connection with these database releases. 

Releases and database tables are published in three languages, in Finnish, Swedish and English. The language versions of releases may have more limited content than in Finnish.   

Information about changes in the publication schedules of releases and database tables and about corrections are given as change releases in the web service.

Data revision - policy

Revisions – i.e. improvements in the accuracy of statistical data already published – are a normal feature of statistical production and result in improved quality of statistics. The principle is that statistical data are based on the best available data and information concerning the statistical phenomenon. On the other hand, the revisions are communicated as transparently as possible in advance. Advance communication ensures that the users can prepare for the data revisions. 

The reason why data in statistical releases become revised is often caused by the data becoming supplemented. Then the new, revised statistical figure is based on a wider information basis and describes the phenomenon more accurately than before. 

Revisions of statistical data may also be caused by the calculation method used, such as annual benchmarking or updating of weight structures. Changes of base years and used classifications may also cause revisions to data.

Quality assessment

Quality can be assessed by comparing preliminary data for the statistical reference year with final data once the final data have been completed. Data on deaths have been collected outside the Population Information System in the statistics on causes of death and the preliminary data can be compared with them.

The Official Statistics of Finland (OSF) are a comprehensive collection of statistics describing the development and state of society. They comprise nearly 300 sets of statistics on 26 different topics. The producers of Official Statistics of Finland have approved a common quality assurance in which they commit to common quality criteria and quality assurance measures. The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice. The good practices followed in the statistics are presented in Statistics Finland's Quality Guidelines for Official Statistics handbook.

The preliminary population statistics and their production process were audited in 2020.

 

Quality assurance

Quality management requires comprehensive guidance of activities. The quality management framework of the field of statistics is the European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP). The frameworks complement each other. The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are also compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice. 

Further information: Quality management | Statistics Finland (stat.fi)

User access

Data are released to all users at the same time. Statistical data may only be handled at Statistics Finland and information on them may be given before release only by persons involved in the production of the statistics concerned or who need the data of the statistics concerned in their own work before the data are published. 

Further information: Publication principles for statistics 

Unless otherwise separately stated in connection with the product, data or service concerned, Statistics Finland is the producer of the data and the owner of the copyright. The terms of use for statistical data.

Statistical experts

Joonas Toivola
Senior Statistician
029 551 3355

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