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Quality description, Citizenships granted 2018

1. Relevance of statistical information

The main source used when producing Finnish population statistics is the Population Information System of the Population Register Centre. Changes in the data on the vital events of the resident population are updated into the Population Information System continuously by local population register authorities. Population Register Centre is leading updating activities. From 1971 Statistics Finland has obtained population data from the Population Register Centre.

The last population registration was carried out in Finland on 1 January 1989. After that the Population Information System has been updated by notifications of changes. The data stored in the Population Information System are specified in the act on Population Information System and the certicate services of the Population Register Centre (21 August 2009/661). Notifications on population changes for the past year are expected by the last day of January of the following year.

Statistics Finland’s function is to compile statistics on conditions in society (Statistics Finland Act of 24 January 1992/48). These also include demographic statistics. Statistics Finland’s Rules of Procedure defines the Population Statistics unit as the producer of demographic statistics (Statistics Finland’s Rules of Procedure, TK-00-954-18).

In accordance with the Act on the Municipality of Domicile, the municipality of domicile and the place of residence of individuals are recorded in the Population Information System. The municipality in which a person lives or the one construed by the inhabitant as the municipality of domicile on the grounds of residence, family ties, livelihood or other equivalent circumstances, or to which the inhabitant has close links due to the aforementioned circumstances is deemed the municipality of domicile. (Act on the Municipality of Domicile, 201/1994.) The population registered in the Population Information System is divided into those present and those absent. Those present are permanent residents of Finland, either Finnish nationals or aliens. Those absent are Finnish nationals who when emigrating from the country have reported that they intend to be absent from Finland for more than one year, with the exception of Finnish nationals who are diplomats and those working in development co-operation (Act on the Municipality of Domicile, 201/1994.) Only changes in the population resident in Finland on the day of the event are taken into account when compiling statistics on vital events.

Persons moving to Finland from abroad are classified in the population statistics if the place of residence they have declared as their municipality of domicile is later confirmed as their place of residence. Staying in Finland for clearly more than one year is the prerequisite for registering of the foreign citizens into the population of Finland if a person does not have EU citizenship. The length of employment or studying from entry into the country or the length of employment contract must be at least two years for foreign citizens of the third countries to receive the right to a place of domicile. Staying in Finland for one year is the prerequisite for registering of the citizens of EU countries into the population of Finland if they have already lived a year in Finland. At a justified request, the information on a foreign citizen may also be entered after a short stay if he/she has, for example, a temporary place of residence in Finland as defined in the Act on the Municipality of Domicile and the entry is necessary for the realisation of rights related to employment or a similar circumstance (Act 661/2009).


Citizenship refers to the legislative tie between an individual and a state that determines the relationship between them and their reciprocal rights and obligations. Citizenship is usually determined at birth, but it can be changed when a person moves to live in another country. A child receives Finnish citizenship at birth based on the parentage principle, i.e. if the child’s mother is a Finnish citizen or the child’s father is a Finnish citizen and married to the child’s mother. An adopted child aged under 12 of whose adoptive parents at least one is a Finnish citizen will automatically receive Finnish citizenship based on the adoption starting from the day the adoption becomes valid in Finland.

The Finnish Immigration Service decides on Finnish citizenships and can grant citizenship based either on a declaration or application. Persons having received Finnish citizenship by both declaration or application procedure are included in statistics on recipients of Finnish nationality. The number of persons receiving Finnish citizenship based on declaration has been particularly high in 2004 to 2008.

A person may also have more than one nationality (see Nationality Act, 359/2003). If a person has two nationalities and one of them is Finnish, he/she will be included in statistics as a Finnish citizen. If a foreign national living in Finland has several nationalities, that person will be entered in the statistics as a citizen of the country on whose passport he or she arrived in the country.

The Population Register Centre has adopted the ISO 3166 standard in its nationality classification.

2. Methodological description of survey

The main source used when producing Finnish population statistics is the Population Information System of the Population Register Centre. Local register office updates a Population Information System with information it gets from persons experiencing vital events and parishes of the Evangelical-Lutheran and Greek Orthodox churches. The Finnish Immigration Service decide often about the granting of Finnish citizenships (the Nationality Act 359/2003) and enters data about the decisions into the Population Information System. Sometimes local register offices write Finland as a citizenship from the request on the basis of parent’s information if this changes so that the criteria of granting a citizenship to the child fullfills. Statistics Finland receives the updated data of vital events in machine-language format on a weekly basis.

The deadline for delivering data to Statistics Finland on vital events in the statistical year has been the end of January of the following year. Data on population changes in statistical year delivered to Statistics Finland after this date are included in the data of the following year.

Starting from the statistical reference year 2018, additions or corrections are expected to the background data in the population change data until the end of February following the statistical reference year. The total number of vital events established at the end of January does not change, however, but the aim of the additions and corrections is to improve the quality of the data.

3. Correctness and accuracy of data

In general, the Population Information System of the Population Register Centre can be considered very exhaustive as regards persons. In order that a person obtains a personal identity code, he or she has to be registered in the Population Information System. All persons living permanently in Finland have a personal identity code. The registration is possible if he or she moves to Finland temporarily for more than three months. It is practically impossible to live in Finland without a personal identity code. A personal identity code is needed so that one can legally work or create a bank account or have dealings with authorities and so on. You can safely assume that in Finland there cannot be any substantial number of ’moonlighter workers’ who act periods of over one year, for example.

After abolishment of yearly checking of domicile registers (January 1) in 1989 the Population Information System has been maintained only by notifications of changes to population information. Their correctness is determined by a reliability survey made on the addresses in the Population Information System.

The Population Register Centre has charged Statistics Finland with the task of conducting a sample survey on correctness of address information. Around 11,000 people are asked whether their address in the Population Information System is correct. In the most recent survey in 2012, the address was correct for 98.9 per cent of the respondents.

In connection with municipal elections, returned notifications of voting sent to foreigners usually reveal around 1,000 persons who have moved from the country without giving notice and are thus still included in the Finnish population. The local register office removes them from the resident population in the Population Information System before the following turn of the year.

4. Timeliness and promptness of published data

Final vital statistics are published yearly in April to May, except for those on stillbirths, which are released in September. Since 1999 the regional division used has been that of the first day of the following year. Thus the municipalities that unite on the first day of the new year are already combined in the statistics of the previous year. Information on the vital statistics of the united municipalities before the unification is available from 2003 onwards.

5. Accessibility and transparency/clarity of data

Basic population data are available in electronic form by municipality or with larger regional divisions than municipality in Statistics Finland’s free ‘Population’ online service (Statistical databases) at:

Population statistics from 1750 have been digitised into PDF format in the National Library's Doria service:

Publications on Population structure and Vital statistics in Doria (mainly in Finnish)
Publications on Population censuses in Doria (mainly in Finnish)

The chargeable information service contains more specified information about the population by sub-area of municipality, for example.

6. Comparability of statistics

Comparable regional vital statistics series are available from 1990. The tables always indicate which regional division is used.

Statistics of Finnish Immigration Service does not show same figures of citizenships granted as statistics of Statistics Finland because the figures of Finnish Immigration Service contains information of persons living abroad.

7. Coherence and consistency/uniformity

Statistics Finland’s other statistics use the data of demographic statistics as basic information on population. Consequently, Statistics Finland’s other statistics correspond to demographic statistics.

Source: Population and Justice Statistics. Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Joonas Toivola 029 551 3355, Timo Nikander 029 551 3250, Katariina Heikkilä 029 551 3638

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

Updated 13.9.2019

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Citizenships granted [e-publication].
ISSN=1797-7169. 2018, Quality description, Citizenships granted 2018 . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 22.7.2024].
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