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Quality description, migration 2016

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. 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 Population Information Act (11 June 1993/507).

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-00-1743-16).

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 31 December 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.

Internal migration

Those changing place of domicile are expected within one week of the move to report on the change of address, specifying all family members involved in the move. The notice is delivered to the register office of the new place of residence. The move is indicated as either a permanent or a temporary one, and once the register office receives the notice, the register office determines whether the nature of the move involves a permanent or temporary change of domicile. Since 1 June 1994, when the Act on the Municipality of Domicile (201/1994) came into effect, students moving due to their studies have had the right to register themselves as permanent residents in the municipality in which they study. If a person is placed for a long time in regular institutional or family care somewhere else as in his or her municipality of residence, his or her move could have been regarded as a permanent move since 2011 to the municipality where the activity unit of care is locating (1377/2010). Data on the change of dwelling and place of domicile are transferred in machine-language format to the Population Information System. The register office of the new place of residence sends the data on the new place of domicile to the register office of the former place of residence. (Population Data Act 507/1993 and amendment 202/1994; Act on the Municipality of Domicile 201/1994; Decree on the Municipality of Domicile 351/1994)

The effect of annexations has been taken into account in the statistics on the volume of migration in the years of 1987–2016. The effect of the change in the statistical period is illustrated below in connection with the description of the intra-municipal migration concept.

The propensity for internal migration, or the rate of internal migration, refers to the number of migrants per 1,000 of the mean population in the area of departure. The propensity for internal migration indicates the migrants per 1,000 of the mean population in the age group in question.

The coming into force of the Act on the Municipality of Domicile has increased with 10,000 moves the volume of intra-municipal migration yearly in 1994–2016.

Intra-municipal migration

Statistics Finland receives information on the changes in place of residence that involve a permanent change of domicile. These changes in domicile are classified at Statistics Finland into intra-municipal moves and inter-municipal moves. Intra-municipal moves consist of moves from one dwelling to another within the same municipality, with moves from one building or house to another forming a separate sub-category. Intra-municipal statistics dating to 1986 and earlier cover only moves from one building or house to another within the same municipality.

Until 1993, the concept of intra-municipal migration consisted of moves from one household-dwelling unit to another within the same municipality. Since 1994, intra-municipal moves from institutional household-dwelling units to private household-dwelling units and vice versa have been included in the data. Moves from a situation where there is no permanent dwelling to private household-dwellings and vice versa have been classified as intra-municipal migration since 1994. This change in the concept has resulted in an increase of about 6 per cent in the intra-municipal migration data.

When the data for 1993 were produced, the statistical period was also changed from the period of 2 January to 1 January into 1 January to 31 December because of the corresponding change in the Population Information System. In the transition year the statistical period fell one day short of one year (the effect being 11,000 cases of intra-municipal migration and 4,500 cases of inter-municipal migration).

Immigration and emigration

A Finnish citizen having entered the country must notify the register office if his/her intended stay in the country exceeds three months. The register office will update his/her data in the Population Information System (Act 661/2009). A foreign citizen may enter Finland provided he/she holds a required valid visa, residence permit or residence permit for an employed or self-employed person, unless he/she is an EU or EEA citizen or unless otherwise provided by an international agreement binding Finland (Aliens Act 301/2004). An EU or EEA citizen may stay in the country without a separate permit for three months, after which his/her stay in the country requires justifications and registration with the register office. An intend of living at least a year in the country is a prerequisite for EU or EEA citizens to become registered as permanent residents in Finland. After a citizen of the third countries have travelled to Finland, his or her work or studies excluding some special cases must last or he or she must have job contracts of two years before he or she can get right to the municipality of domicile in Finland. (399/2007) The register office enters the information about the domicile of a foreign citizen into the Population Information System if the person receives a municipality of domicile and a permanent place of residence in it in Finland as defined in the Act on the Municipality of Domicile (201/1994).

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). In statistics on population changes, a person's move into Finland from elsewhere is regarded as immigration only if a notation has been made into the Population Information System that he/she has received a permanent place of residence in Finland.

Persons emigrating from the country must submit a notice of change of address in the same way as persons who migrate within the country (Acts 661/2009, 201/1994). Persons who move to live abroad for more than one year are primarily regarded as emigrants. An exception to this are Finnish diplomats and persons working in development co-operation, etc. (Act on the Municipality of Domicile 201/1994).

When a person moves from one Nordic country to another, he/she must report his/her move to the local register authority of the country of entry, which will decide by practise of registration whether or not the person is registered as resident in the country of entry. The register authority of the country of entry informs the person concerned and the register authority of the country of exit about its decision. The date when the person has been entered into the local population register of the country of entry is recorded as the date of emigration in the population register of the country of exit (Act on the Municipality of Domicile 201/1994, Decree and International Treaty 96/2006).

2. Methodological description of survey

The main source used when producing Finnish population statistics is the Population Information System of the Population Information 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. Hospitals send information of births and deaths in machine-language format to maintenance of Population Information System. The health care unit or the physician has to report the death to the Population Information System. Local courts take information of decisions of adoptions and divorces dealt in the court into the Population Information System. The Finnish Immigration Services decide mostly about the granting of Finnish citizenships (the Nationality Act 359/2003) and enters data about the decisions into the Population Information System. Statistics Finland receives the updated data on 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 is the end of January of the following year. The exception to this is the data on stillbirths, which were expected by the end of August. Data on population changes in statistical year delivered to Statistics Finland after this date are included in the data of the following year.

Statistics of population structure drops yearly hundreds of records more compared to the figure of previous year from the data produced by Population register centre because there has not found signs of life for years in different registers of the persons of the records. Officially these persons belong to the permanent population of Finland. Statistics of migration has generated emigration records yearly of the majority of records dropped out of the data of population sructure in 2013-2016.

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. It is practically very difficult to live in Finland without a personal identity code. A personal identity code is needed so that one can work legally, open a bank account, have dealings with authorities and so on. It can be safely assumed that Finland cannot have any substantial numbers of ’moonlighters’ who receive their pay in cash for 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 charges Statistics Finland with the task of conducting yearly 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 2012 survey, 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.

Preliminary statistics of population changes by municipality is released quarterly always at the end of the month following the previous quarter. Summary data of monthly population changes an population is released every month three weeks after the end the month. Preliminary population statistics by municipality are available by month. Monthly statistics of population changes is chargeable statistics and it is released monthly.

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 Statistical Database 'StatFin' on the internet.

Population statistics from 1750 to 2000 have been digitised into PDF format in the National Library's Doria service.

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

The chargeable information service contains more specified information about the population by sub-area of municipality, for example. More information about Statistics Finland’s chargeable services is available at: (in Finnish).

6. Comparability of statistics

Comparable regional vital statistics series are available free from 1987. The tables always indicate which regional division is used.

Vital statistics data on the numbers of births, deaths and marriages contracted are available from 1749 onwards. From 1773 there are data about mothers having given birth by five-year age group and from 1936 about all children born by age of mother. After the statistical revision of 1877 collection of data on deaths was started by one-year age group, which made it possible to begin calculation of accurate mortality and lifetime tables from the 1880s onwards. On account of this statistical revision, annual collection of data on migration and divorces was also started.

Compilation of statistics on immigrants based on lists of passports began in 1900 and continued until 1984. From 1945 there are data on the total volume of migration between Finland and foreign countries derived from statistical materials of other countries. The migration statistics between the Nordic Countries improved in 1969, when the so-called Inter-Nordic Migration Form was introduced. Production of statistics on migration outside the Nordic Countries improved further in 1985, when the obligation to notify was extended to emigrants.

The population time series in the free “StatFin” online service begin from the year 1980 or 1987. Vital statistics time series for the whole country is available from 1749.

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: Migration 2016. Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Matti Saari 029 551 3401, Nikander Timo 029 551 3250,

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

Updated 18.12.2017

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Migration [e-publication].
ISSN=1797-6782. Annual Review 2016, Quality description, migration 2016 . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 19.6.2024].
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