News 4 Dec 2017

100 years of independence, over 100 years of statistics on Finland

During one hundred years, Finland’s population has grown from three million to five-and-a-half million. The life expectancy of Finns has risen by 35 years from the early years of independence. The Statistical Yearbook of Finland published by Statistics Finland has described changes and development of our society ever since 1879.

Population by age group in 1870 to 2060

The age structure of Finns has changed in one hundred years. In 1917, around 35 per cent of the population were aged under 15, while their share was 16 per cent in 2016. In 1917, under six per cent were aged 65 or over, while they made up one-fifth of the population in 2016. In 2016, the number of aged persons is higher than ever: 142,877 persons were aged 85 or over, that is, 2.6 per cent of the population. In 1917, there were 4,900 persons of that age, that is, just 0.2 per cent of the population.

In 1917, the number of marriages entered into was 20,004, last year 24,464. The number of divorces granted in 1917 was only 368, while 13,541 marriages ended in divorce last year.  In the 1950s, the most typical family was still formed by a married couple and children, around 64 per cent of families. Last year, the most common family type, or 36 per cent of families, was a married couple without children.

The standard of equipment in dwellings has changed fast. In the 1950s, just seven per cent of dwellings had washing facilities or hot water, while in 2016, nearly all dwellings had these modern comforts. Last year, the number of dwellings in Finland was 2,968,200, one quarter of which were one or two-room dwellings. In 1950, dwellings numbered 998,839, and over one-half of them were one or two-room dwellings.

Finns’ level of education has continued to rise. In 1917, matriculation examinations were completed by 1,128 students, of whom 40.5 per cent were women. Last year, the number of new passers of the matriculation examination was 30,531, and 58 per cent of them were women. In 1970, around nine per cent of the population with qualifications had attained tertiary level qualifications, 23 per cent at the end of 2000 and as many as 30 per cent in 2015.

The economic structure has changed a great deal during independence. In 1917, primary production accounted for nearly 49 per cent of gross value added, in 2016, the share was only 2.7 per cent. While the share of services in gross value added was 28 per cent in 1917, the share of services was 70 per cent last year.

Statistical Yearbook of Finland describes changing Finland

These data can be found in the newly published Statistical Yearbook of Finland 2017, which describes the development of the state of Finland and changes in the life of Finnish people.

In addition to the latest data, this comprehensive volume of statistics contains long time series and regional data, as well as plenty of comparison data on other countries. The book is in Finnish, Swedish and English, and contains 603 pages and 625 tables.

Source: Statistical Yearbook of Finland 2017. Statistics Finland. Price EUR 80 (incl. VAT).
The publication can be ordered from the customer service of Edita Publishing Oy, tel. +358 20 450 05 or from Edita's NetMarket online store.
The Yearbook can also be downloaded in PDF format at

Further information: Information Services Planner Sirkku Hiltunen +358 29 551 6373