Indebtedness: documentation of statistics
Basic data of the statistics
See population of total data on income distribution statistics
The basic data for the statistics have been drawn from the Tax Administration’s database and combined with the data from total statistics on income distribution. The tax authorities derive the data on loans and interests by type of loan from the annual declarations of financial institutions and other credit providers. The total data on income distribution consists of register data covering the whole population. All of its data are collected from administrative registers. The register data are combined on the basis of the personal identity codes
Unit of measure
This does not include data of personnel service offices and other common lenders on loans whose purpose of use is other than housing loan or student loan guaranteed by the Finnish Government or the Åland Provincial Government and whose debt capital is at most EUR 1,700.
In 2012, the definition of other debts changed so that they no longer include so-called continuous credits granted by financial corporations (see concepts and definitions for more details). The change affects not only the amount of other debts and the numbers of debtors, but also the total sum of debts and average debts. From 2015 onwards, study loans are no longer available separately but they are included in other debts. Housing loans in the statistics on indebtedness do not include housing company loans, which are included in housing loans in financial accounts.
The time series data of the statistics on indebtedness cover the years 2002 to 2021.
Comparable time series data are available on the statistics on indebtedness for 2002 to 2011. In 2012, the definition of other debts changed so that they no longer include so-called continuous credits granted by financial corporations. The change affects not only the amount of other debts and the numbers of debtors, but also the total sum of debts and average debts. From 2015 onwards, study loans are no longer available separately, but they are included in other debts.
Frequency of dissemination
Accuracy, reliability and timeliness
Possible bias can be assessed by comparing the key figures calculated from the data and their distributions with the corresponding figures and distributions from previous years. Comparisons can also be made to corresponding key figures obtained from other sources, for example, by comparing to the figures produced by the Tax Administration's statistical services.
The so-called preliminary data (i.e. data without indebtedness rates) of the statistics on indebtedness are released around six months after the end of the statistical reference year.
Coherence and comparability
Comparability - over time
Coherence - cross domain
The statistics on indebtedness are based on data covering the entire household-dwelling unit population, so it complements the picture of the amounts and distribution of debts by type of debts and type of household-dwelling unit or household that is available from sample data (sample data of income distribution statistics, wealth surveys) or macro level statistics on outstanding credit.
Data on the debts of the household sector are also published, for example, in Statistics Finland's financial accounts and the Bank of Finland's financial market statistics. Due to conceptual differences and differences in definitions, the data of these can differ from each other. The household sector’s debts in financial accounts also include housing companies’ shareholder loans, which are missing from the statistics on indebtedness. Based on financial accounts, the indebtedness rates of the household sector are released in national accounts. They differ from those published in the statistics on indebtedness not only as regards the concept of debt but also as regards the concept of income.
Coherence -national accounts
Source data and data collections
The data on debts and interests in the statistics on indebtedness are based on the annual tax return data drawn from the Tax Administration's data system. Credit and financial institutions, personnel service offices, employers, central government, municipalities, insurance corporations and pension institutions and insurance companies submit annual reports to the Tax Administration on taxpayers' loans and cheque accounts with overdraft facility (not limit), their purpose of use and paid interests. In the annual reports, the loan-specific loan and interest data concern loans by natural persons (incl. practitioners of trade, agricultural and forestry practitioners) and estates of deceased persons on 31 December. Foreigners can also be debtors. This does not include data of personnel service offices and other common lenders on loans whose purpose of use is other than housing loan or student loan guaranteed by the Finnish Government or the Åland Provincial Government and whose debt capital is at most EUR 1,700. Housing loans do not include housing company loans, which are included in housing loans in financial accounts.
The household-dwelling unit, classification and income data of the statistics on indebtedness derive from the total statistics on income distribution. The target population of the statistics consists of household-dwelling units, that is, the so-called household-dwelling unit population. Excluded from the population are persons permanently resident abroad, persons without a postal address and the institutional population (e.g. long-term residents of old people’s homes, care institutions, prisons or hospitals).
Frequency of data collection
The indebtedness data are formed separately at the level of persons and household-dwelling units. The data formed are used to update the time series at the level of persons and household-dwelling units in the statistics on indebtedness. Database tables and other published data are run from the updated time series data.
The statistics on indebtedness are published twice a year, the first release is the so-called preliminary and the second release the so-called final. The difference is that at the time of the first release, the income data of the total statistics on income distribution are not yet available. This has an effect on the production process so that the data of the preliminary release do not include income data and thus indebtedness rates cannot yet be calculated, whereas in the final release, data relating to indebtedness rates can also be calculated and published based on the data supplemented with income data.
The household-dwelling unit, classification and income data of the statistics on indebtedness derive from the total statistics on income distribution. The processes related to their formation are described in the documentation of the total statistics on income distribution.
The Tax Administration's debt and interest data arrive as a file where separate credits have their own record. The data are combined into a person-level file in the SAS program, which also produces key figures by type of debt for revision of the data.
The time series of the statistics on indebtedness are formed by combining the debt data with the data selected from the total statistics on income distribution in the SAS programme. Time series are formed for both personal and household-dwelling unit data. Finally, the monetary data (debts, interests, disposable monetary income) of the time series are deflated into the money of the statistical reference year in a separate SAS programme.
Debt data are received earlier than income data, so data for the same year are run twice: in June of the year following the latest statistical reference year without indebtedness rates (so-called preliminary data) and in December supplemented with indebtedness rates (so-called final data).
The data needed for the database tables to be published are compiled from time series data in the SAS programmes and the data are run into tables using the PX-PRO macro.
The data of the statistics on indebtedness can be compared at the level of the whole country with those of Statistics Finland's statistics on financial accounts and the Bank of Finland's financial market statistics. In addition, the data produced by the Tax Administration's statistical service can be utilised in the comparison.
Principles and outlines
Contact organisation unit
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
The publications of the statistics on indebtedness contain figures and tables and StatFin database tables. The publication tables do not vary much from one publication to another and contain data aggregated to quite a general level. Database tables are more standardised and more detailed than publication tables in terms of data content.
The basic publication of the statistics on indebtedness contains eight StatFin tables in June's publication and seven StatFin tables in December's publication. Efforts have been made to make the classifications of tables less detailed so that data protection problems can be avoided. In addition, the numbers are checked and if necessary, all numbers are suppressed in the categories where the number of household-dwelling units is below the threshold value.
Data from the statistics on indebtedness can also be published as articles and blogs (Tieto&trendit) and in social media, e.g. on Statistics Finland's Twitter account.
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.
The home page of the statistics on indebtedness can be found on Statistics Finland's web pages under the topic Work, Wages and Livelihood: https://www.stat.fi/en/statistics/velk. The key results are published on the home page on release dates. The data distributed in connection with the release are in the form of release publications and reviews (HTML and PDF), appendix tables (HTML) and StatFin database tables (PxWeb).
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 management requires comprehensive guidance of activities. The quality management framework of the field of statistics is the European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP). 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)
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
Are you looking for previously published documentation?
The documentation released before 5.4.2022 can be found on the archive pages of the statistics.Go to the archive page