1. Background analysis of candidates and elected MPs in Parliamentary elections 2019

The following review examines persons entitled to vote in the Parliamentary elections 2019, the candidates nominated by the parties and persons elected into Parliament according to various background information. The data on persons entitled to vote derive from the voting register established on 22 February 2019 and the data on the candidates from the candidate register set up on 14 March 2019. The data on the elected MPs are based on the result confirmed on 17 April 2019. The background data are based on Statistics Finland’s statistical data, such as population, employment and family statistics and the Register of Completed Education and Degrees. Of the persons entitled to vote only those resident in Finland are included in this review. The parties that got candidates elected into parliament in the 2019 Parliamentary elections are presented in the Figures and Tables, and in the analysis they are called "Parliamentary parties". This also includes the Blue Reform that separated from the Finns Party. The data on the candidates of other parties and constituency associations are summed under the group "Others".

The candidates and elected MPs differ by age structure and sex from all persons entitled to vote. Considerably fewer of the candidates are aged 30 or under and 70 or over than the persons entitled to vote, and more of the candidates are men than women. This should be considered when comparing the candidates and elected MPs with persons entitled to vote. In the tables and figures of this analysis, the data are not age-standardised. Standardisation would slightly lower the difference between the candidates, elected MPs and those entitled to vote, for example, when comparing the groups’ level of education, main type of activity, family status and socio-economic group.

1.1. Summary

Women's share of the candidates rose to over 40 per cent

The total number of candidates nominated in the Parliamentary elections is 2,468, which is 322 more candidates than in the previous elections and more than ever in the 2000s. Of the candidates, 1,432 are men and 1,036 are women. In all elections in the 2000s, women's share of candidates has been just under 40 per cent. Now women's share rose to 42 per cent – the share having risen by 2.6 percentage points from the previous elections. Of the parliamentary parties, the Finns Party (31.5%) and the Blue Reform (32.9%) nominated in relative terms the least female candidates. The share of women candidates is highest in the Green League (62.0%). In addition to the Green League, the Swedish People's Party and the Christian Democrats have more female than male candidates. In constituencies, women's share is biggest in Uusimaa (44%) and smallest in Vaasa (37%).

Record number of women into Parliament

More women were elected to Parliament than ever before. In all, 94 women were elected, which is 47 per cent of all elected MPs. Compared with the 2015 elections, the number of women rose by 11. In relative terms, most women were elected from the Green League, 85 per cent. Women's shares of elected MPs were smallest in the Finns Party (30.8%) and the Centre Party (32.3%).

Nearly one third also ran in the previous elections – more than one half were re-elected

Nearly 30 per cent of the candidates were also nominated in the 2015 elections. Among the parliamentary parties, the Finnish Social Democratic Party has most of the same candidates in the elections compared to the previous elections, over 40 per cent. The Swedish People's Party (23.5%) and the Green League (29.6%) had least of the same candidates. Around 16 per cent of the Blue Reform candidates were candidates of the Finns Party in the 2015 elections.

One-half of the elected MPs were also elected directly to Parliament in the 2015 Parliamentary elections.

Of the parliamentary parties, the Blue Reform has the oldest candidates, the Green League the youngest

Candidates are, on average, 4.3 years younger than persons entitled to vote. The average age of the candidates is 46.9 years and that of persons entitled to vote 51.2 years. Of the parliamentary parties, the Blue Reform has the oldest candidates: the average age of its candidates is 54.4 years and around 38 per cent of the candidates are aged 60 or over. The candidates of the Green League are in turn youngest in their average age. Around 15 per cent of them are aged under 30, and the average age of the candidates is 41.3 years.

Women in majority of MPs aged under 45

The elected men are clearly older than the women elected to Parliament. The average age of the elected male MPs is 48.8 years and that of female MPs 44.1 years. Nearly 60 per cent of MPs aged under 45 are women. Correspondingly, the share of women is under 30 per cent among those aged 55 or over.

Of the candidates, 2.4 per cent are of foreign origin – and 0.5 per cent of the elected MPs

The share of candidates of foreign origin is on the same level as among persons entitled to vote, around 2.5 per cent. The proportion of persons of foreign origin among all persons living in Finland is, however, higher, as only Finnish citizens are entitled to vote and eligible to stand as candidates in the Parliamentary elections. For example, around seven per cent of the population living in Finland were of foreign origin in 2017. Of the parliamentary parties, the Social Democrats and the Left Alliance have the most candidates of foreign origin, slightly over four per cent and the Finns Party the least, around half a per cent of candidates.

Of the elected MPs, 0.5 per cent are of foreign origin. Examined by language, the share of foreign-language speakers among the elected MPs is also 0.5 per cent. Altogether 7.0 per cent of the elected MPs speak Swedish as their native language. The share of foreign-language speakers among the elected MPs is two percentage points lower than their share among persons entitled to vote. The share of Swedish speakers among elected MPs is slightly bigger than their share of the population.

Candidates and elected MPs are more highly educated and more actively in working life

Nearly one-half of the candidates have tertiary level qualifications. The corresponding share is slightly under one quarter among persons entitled to vote. Under ten per cent of the candidates have only basic level education, but around one-quarter of persons entitled to vote. This is partly explained by the different age structure of people entitled to vote and the candidates. The candidates of the Green League and the National Coalition Party have the highest level of education, one-half of them have higher tertiary or doctorate level degrees.

Persons elected to Parliament are more highly educated than those entitled to vote and the candidates. Of those elected, around 70 per cent have tertiary level qualifications and about three per cent only have basic level of education.

The difference in the age structure of the candidates, elected MPs and persons entitled to vote is also reflected in their labour market position: nearly all of the elected MPs, over 70 per cent of the candidates and slightly more than one half of the persons entitled to vote are employed persons. Nearly one-third of persons entitled to vote are pensioners, but only every tenth of the candidates. Two per cent of those elected to Parliament were pensioners or otherwise in the inactive population. The employment rate is calculated from the working-age population aged 18 to 64. The employment rate of the candidates is 78 per cent, while that of persons entitled to vote is around ten percentage points lower.

By their socio-economic group, more candidates are salaried employees than persons entitled to vote: 70 per cent of the candidates and around 59 per cent of employed persons entitled to vote belong to salaried employees. For all parliamentary parties, the proportion of salaried employees is higher among candidates than among persons entitled to vote.

Nearly 80 per cent of the elected MPs were upper-level employees. Two per cent have an entrepreneurial background and three per cent are in worker occupations. Almost one-half of the new elected MPs are upper-level employees.

Of employed candidates, 43 per cent work in the public sector. Roughly the same proportion of candidates and persons entitled to vote work in the local government sector, but the central government sector employs clearly more MP candidates than persons entitled to vote. When slightly over five per cent of all persons entitled to vote are working in the central government sector, this is so for around 18 per cent of the candidates.

The majority, around two-thirds, of the elected MPs work in the central government sector, which is explained by the re-election of the current MPs. In turn, over one-half of the new MPs work in the private sector, 18.0 per cent are wage and salary earners in the central government sector and nearly one quarter wage and salary earners in the local government sector.

One-half of elected MPs are parents of families with children

The candidates and elected MPs also differ in their family status from persons entitled to vote: considerably more of them are parents of a family with children and clearly fewer are childless couples than is the case among persons entitled to vote. This is of course explained by that the age structure of candidates and elected MPs is younger than among persons entitled to vote. Of all persons entitled to vote, 22 per cent are parents of families with children, good one-third of the candidates and nearly one-half of elected MPs. In turn, one-quarter of persons entitled to vote live alone, slightly over one-fifth of the candidates and around 15 per cent of the elected MPs.

Family status does not reveal how many of the candidates have or have had children of their own, because in older families, children may have already moved away from home and in family break-ups, children may live with their other parent. This can, however, be examined based on the number of children recorded in the Finnish Population Information System. Candidates have somewhat more children than average. Of the candidates, 70 per cent have children of their own, whereas the corresponding figure for persons entitled to vote is 66 per cent. The candidates have 1.7 children, on average, and persons entitled to vote have 1.5 children.

Around one-fifth of the elected MPs are childless among both men and women. In all, 23 per cent of the elected women and 38 per cent of the men have at least three children. On average, elected women MPs have 1.8 and men 2.2 children.

Highest income level among Coalition Party candidates

Candidates are more highly educated and a larger share of them are also working than among persons entitled to vote. This largely accounts for the higher income level of candidates than persons entitled to vote. The median disposable income of the candidates is EUR 29,100 and that of all persons entitled to vote EUR 21,500. The candidates' disposable income is about 36 per cent higher than that of persons entitled to vote.

The candidates’ income varies by party from around EUR 47,500 in the Coalition Party to EUR 26,300 in the Blue Reform. The highest income decile of the population entitled to vote has at least EUR 39,600 at their disposal and the lowest income decile at most EUR 9,400. Of all candidates, 27 per cent belong to the highest income decile. Of the candidates, those representing the National Coalition Party and the Centre Party belong to the higher end of the income distribution. Around 62 per cent of the Coalition Party candidates and one-half of the Centre Party candidates belong to the highest income decile.

The median for the disposable monetary income of all elected MPs is EUR 55,400 per year. Compared to persons entitled to vote, the disposable income of elected MPs is 2.6 times higher and compared to candidates, almost two times higher.

1.2. Candidates, elected councillors and persons entitled to vote by sex

Women’s share of candidates 42 per cent

The total number of candidates nominated in the Parliamentary elections is 2,468, which is 322 more candidates than in the previous elections and more than ever in the 2000s. Four parties, that is, the Centre Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Left Alliance and the Green League nominated the maximum number of candidates, which is 216. The number of Finns Party candidates was on level with the previous time even though the Blue Reform that separated from the Finns Party now nominated 152 candidates.

Table 1. Number of candidates by party in Parliamentary elections 2011, 2015 and 2019

  Number of candidates by party Change from the previous elections, (%)
2011 2015 2019 2015 2019
Candidates total 2,315 2,146 2,468 -7.3 15.0
Centre Party of Finland KESK 233 216 216 -7.3 0.0
Finns Party PS 238 215 213 -9.7 -0.9
National Coalition Party KOK 232 214 211 -7.8 -1.4
Finnish Social Democratic Party SDP 238 216 216 -9.2 0.0
Green League VIHR 228 208 216 -8.8 3.8
Left Alliance VAS 236 216 216 -8.5 0.0
Swedish People’s Party in Finland RKP 83 104 98 25.3 -5.8
Christian Democrats in Finland KD 191 193 190 1.0 -1.6
Blue Reform SIN . . 152 . .
Others 636 564 740 -11.3 31.2

Of the candidates, 1,432 are men and 1,036 are women. Women's share of candidates is now 42 per cent, the share having grown by 2.6 percentage points from the previous elections. Among the major parliamentary parties, the Finns Party (31.5 %) and the Blue Reform (32.9 %) nominated the least female candidates in the 2019 elections. The Green League (62.0 %) and the Swedish People's Party (53.1 %) have the highest shares of female candidates. In addition to them, the Christian Democrats in Finland have more female than male candidates. The majority, or 51.4 per cent, of the persons entitled to vote are women.

Figure 1. Persons entitled to vote, candidates (by party) and elected MPs by sex in Parliamentary elections 2019, %

Figure 1. Persons entitled to vote, candidates (by party) and elected MPs by sex in Parliamentary elections 2019, %

Women's share of candidates in the Parliamentary elections now rose for the first time in the 2000s to over 40 per cent. Women’s share of candidates is higher than in the previous elections for all other parties except the Coalition Party and the Finns Party. The share of female candidates fell in the Coalition Party by 0.8 percentage points and in the Finns Party by 3.8 percentage points. The Blue Reform also nominated fewer women as its candidates (32.9%) than the Finns Party in the 2015 elections. The share of female candidates rose most in the Swedish People's Party (by 8.9 percentage points) and in the Centre Party (by 6.5 percentage points).

Women’s share of elected MPs 47 per cent

In all, 106 men and 94 women were elected as MPs. Women's proportion of the elected MPs is 47 per cent, which is five percentage points higher than women's proportion of candidates. Women's proportion of the elected MPs rose in the 2007 elections to over 40 per cent. Compared with the 2015 elections, 11 more women were elected, that is, women's share grew by 5.5 percentage points.

In relative terms, most women were elected from the Green League, 85 per cent. Women are also in the majority in the elected MPs of the Christian Democrats, the Social Democratic Party and the Left Alliance. In all these parties, women's share of elected MPs is bigger than among candidates. Women's shares of elected MPs were smallest in the Finns Party (30.8%) and the Centre Party (32.3%). Correspondingly, women's share of elected MPs in these parties as well as in the Coalition Party and the Christian Democrats is smaller than their share of candidates.

Table 2. Women's proportion of persons entitled to vote, candidates and elected MPs (by party) in Parliamentary elections 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019, %

  2007 2011 2015 2019
  Persons ent. to vote 51.6 51.6 51.5 51.4
Candidates Parties total 39.9 39.0 39.4 42.0
Centre Party of Finland KESK 43.8 41.2 39.8 46.3
National Coalition Party KOK 44.0 44.8 46.3 45.5
Finnish Social Democratic Party SDP 49.1 43.3 47.2 49.5
Left Alliance VAS 45.7 43.6 43.1 49.5
Green League VIHR 52.5 51.8 56.3 62.0
Christian Democrats in Finland KD 39.4 42.9 45.6 51.1
Swedish People’s Party in Finland RKP 45.3 44.6 44.2 53.1
Finns Party PS 25.0 33.2 35.3 31.5
Blue Reform SIN - - - 32.9
Others 28.2 28.5 24.5 30.5
Elected MPs Parties total 42.0 42.5 41.5 47.0
Centre Party of Finland KESK 29.4 34.3 28.6 32.3
National Coalition Party KOK 40.0 34.1 43.2 42.1
Finnish Social Democratic Party SDP 55.6 64.3 61.8 57.5
Left Alliance VAS 17.6 42.9 58.3 56.3
Green League VIHR 66.7 50.0 46.7 85.0
Christian Democrats in Finland KD 57.1 50.0 60.0 60.0
Swedish People’s Party in Finland RKP 55.6 55.6 33.3 44.4
Finns Party PS 20.0 28.2 31.6 30.8
Others 100.0 100.0 - -
Least women among candidates in the constituency of Vaasa

In the 2019 elections, the smallest share of women candidates is found in the constituency of Vaasa, around 37 per cent. It is the only constituency where women's share of candidates is under 40 per cent. In the constituency of Vaasa, the share of female candidates has remained unchanged since 2007.

In Mainland Finland constituencies, the share of female candidates is highest in Uusimaa, where 44 per cent of the candidates were women. There are also more women than average among candidates in the constituencies of Central Finland, Oulu, Häme and Southwest Finland. Compared with the previous elections, women's share of candidates grew most in Lapland (by 4.6 percentage points), Uusimaa (by 4.5 percentage points) and Pirkanmaa (by 4.4 percentage points):

Two of the five candidates in the constituency of Åland are women, i.e. 40 per cent.

The majority, 51.4 per cent, of the persons entitled to vote are women. The female majority is biggest in the constituency of Helsinki, where 54.2 per cent of the persons entitled to vote are women. The Oulu constituency is the only one where women's share of persons entitled to vote is under 50 per cent.

The underrepresentation of women among candidates is largest in the constituencies of Vaasa and Helsinki, where there are 13 percentage points fewer women candidates than their share of persons entitled to vote. This difference is smallest in the constituencies of Oulu, Central Finland and Uusimaa, six to seven percentage points.

Most women elected in relative terms from the constituencies of Satakunta and Savo-Karelia

In relative terms, the highest number of women were elected in the constituencies of Satakunta and Savo-Karelia, where women's share was at least 60 per cent of the elected MPs. At least one-half of the elected MPs were also women in the constituencies of Helsinki (59.1%), Varsinais-Suomi (52.9%) and Häme (50.0%). In relative terms, the lowest number of women were elected in the constituency of Vaasa, where under 20 per cent are women. It should be noted, however, that in small constituencies randomness may swing the gender proportions quite substantially.

Table 3. Proportion of women of candidates and elected MPs by constituency in Parliamentary elections, 2011, 2015 and 2019, %

  2011 2015 2019
Candidates Elected MPs Candidates Elected MPs Candidates Elected MPs
Whole country 39.0 42.5 39.4 41.5 42.0 47.0
Helsinki 40.8 42.9 41.3 36.4 41.3 59.1
Uusimaa 40.9 48.6 39.6 34.3 44.1 47.2
Varsinais-Suomi 40.3 47.1 41.0 52.9 42.4 52.9
Satakunta 40.2 33.3 38.1 50.0 40.2 62.5
Häme 38.6 42.9 42.5 42.9 43.2 50.0
Pirkanmaa 36.7 44.4 37.4 42.1 41.8 42.1
Southeast Finland 36.3 38.9 38.9 41.2 40.8 47.1
Savo-Karelia 40.7 33.3 38.1 50.0 41.2 60.0
Vaasa 36.1 35.3 35.9 31.3 36.9 18.8
Central Finland 41.8 60.0 40.9 30.0 43.8 40.0
Oulu 38.5 33.3 40.6 50.0 43.5 44.4
Lapland 33.3 42.9 35.6 57.1 40.2 42.9
Nearly one-third of the candidates also ran in 2015

Of the candidates in the Parliamentary elections 2019, nearly 30 per cent also ran in the 2015 elections and around 13 per cent had been candidates both in the 2015 and 2011 elections. Among the parliamentary parties, the Social Democratic Party (42.1%) has most of the same candidates in the elections compared to the previous elections. The Swedish People's Party (23.5%) and the Green League (29.6%) had least of the same candidates. Around 16 per cent of the Blue Reform candidates were candidates of the Finns Party in the 2015 elections.

Figure 2. Proportion of the same candidates (by party) in the Parliamentary elections 2011, 2015 and 2019, % of the party’s candidates

Figure 2. Proportion of the same candidates (by party) in the Parliamentary elections 2011, 2015 and 2019, % of the party’s candidates
One-third of elected MPs were also elected in two previous elections

Of the elected MPs, 111, that is, 55.5 per cent had been elected directly in the previous elections in 2015 as well. Due to person changes during the Parliamentary period, slightly more of the elected MPs were MPs in the former Parliament, that is, 117 (58.5%). In relative terms, the Christian Democrats have most of the same elected MPs, as all their MPs elected now were also elected in the 2015 elections. The Centre Party, the loser of the elections, has the second most of the same candidates (67.7%). In relative terms, the lowest number (30%) of the same MPs were elected from the Green League, which is one of the winners of the elections, and from the Finns Party (35.9%), part of whose MPs elected in the previous elections ran for the Blue Reform. Good one-third of the MPs in the new Parliament were elected in both the 2015 and 2011 elections.

Figure 3. Proportion of the same elected MPs (by party) in the Parliamentary elections 2011, 2015 and 2019, % of the party’s elected MPs

Figure 3. Proportion of the same elected MPs (by party) in the Parliamentary elections 2011, 2015 and 2019, % of the party’s elected MPs

1.3. Age structure

Candidates are, on average, 4.3 years younger than persons entitled to vote

The average age of male candidates is 47.9 years and that of female candidates 45.5 years. On average, female candidates are nearly seven years younger than persons entitled to vote and male candidates around two years younger. The average age of persons entitled to vote has risen by around one year since the previous Parliamentary elections. On the day of the election, the average age of persons entitled to vote is now 49.8 for men and 52.3 for women.

The age structure of the candidates is different from that of persons entitled to vote. The age pyramid of neither group is no longer a pyramid as the name indicates. The pyramid of persons entitled to vote is fairly uniform up to those aged 74, after which the age groups shrink considerably. The pyramid of the candidates shows the majority of men in all age groups and the fact that the youngest and oldest age groups are missing. There are most male candidates aged 35 to 39 and 55 to 59. For female candidates, the focus is between the ages 40 to 54.

Figure 4. Age distributions of persons entitled to vote by sex in Parliamentary elections 2019, % of all persons entitled to vote

Figure 4. Age distributions of persons entitled to vote by sex in Parliamentary elections 2019, % of all persons entitled to vote

Figure 5. Age distributions of candidates by sex in Parliamentary elections 2019, % of all candidates

Figure 5. Age distributions of candidates by sex in Parliamentary elections 2019, % of all candidates
Majority of MPs aged under 45 are women

The elected men are clearly older than the women elected to Parliament. The average age of the elected male MPs is 48.8 years and that of female MPs 44.1 years. Men are most numerous among those aged 55 to 59 (9.0 per cent of all elected MPs) and women among those aged 40 to 44 (12.5 per cent of all elected MPs): Nearly 60 per cent of MPs aged under 45 are women. Correspondingly, the share of women is under 30 per cent among those aged 55 or over.

Elected MPs from the Christian Democrat Party and the Swedish People's Party are older than the average. The average age of elected MPs from the Christian Democrats is 56.6 years and that of MPs from the Swedish People's Party 49.9 years. In turn, the age of MPs is lowest in the Green League (42 years) and the Left Alliance (43 years). (Table 4, Figure 6)

Figure 6. Age distributions of elected MPs by sex in Parliamentary elections 2019, % of all elected MPs

Figure 6. Age distributions of elected MPs by sex in Parliamentary elections 2019, % of all elected MPs
Blue Reform candidates oldest

Of the parliamentary parties, the Blue Reform has the oldest candidates: the average age of their candidates is 54.4 years and around 38 per cent of the candidates are aged 60 or over. The candidates of the Green League are in turn youngest in their average age. Around 15 per cent of them are aged under 30, and the average age of the candidates is 41.3 years. The Swedish People's Party has the most candidates aged under 30, slightly over 17 per cent, which is almost the same as the share of persons aged under 30 among all persons entitled to vote. Around 10 per cent of all candidates are aged under 30 and 19 per cent are aged 60 or over. Only three parties, the Green League, the Swedish People's Party and the National Coalition Party have more candidates aged under 30 than those aged 60 or over.

Figure 7. Persons entitled to vote, candidates (by party) and elected MPs by age group in Parliamentary elections 2019, %

Figure 7. Persons entitled to vote, candidates (by party) and elected MPs by age group in Parliamentary elections 2019, %

Table 4. Average age of persons entitled to vote, candidates and elected MPs (by party) by sex in Parliamentary elections 2019

  Male Female Total
  Persons ent. to vote 49.8 52.3 51.1
Candidates Parties total 47.9 45.5 46.9
KESK 46.4 44.8 45.7
PS 49.1 45.8 48.1
KOK 46.9 43.6 45.4
SDP 47.2 43.9 45.6
VIHR 43.0 40.3 41.3
VAS 44.9 43.7 44.3
RKP 47.3 41.2 44.0
KD 51.7 50.9 51.3
SIN 54.2 54.7 54.4
Others 47.7 47.7 47.7
Elected MPs Parties total 48.8 44.1 46.6
KESK 48.0 42.7 46.3
PS 47.3 45.5 46.7
KOK 47.2 43.8 45.8
SDP 52.8 46.3 49.1
VIHR 53.3 39.9 42.0
VAS 49.1 38.2 43.0
RKP 46.8 53.8 49.9
KD 58.5 55.3 56.6
Others 50.0 . 50.0

1.4. Foreign background

Altogether 2.3 per cent of candidates foreign-language speakers

The share of foreign-language speakers among the candidates is on the same level as among persons entitled to vote. Of the candidates, 2.3 per cent are foreign-language speakers and 2.4 per cent of the persons entitled to vote speak a foreign language as their native language. The proportion of foreign-language speaking candidates is almost on the same level starting from the 2011 Parliamentary elections, even though the share of foreign-language speakers entitled to vote has grown. In the 2011 elections, the relative share of foreign-language speakers was higher among candidates than among persons entitled to vote. Over 60 per cent of foreign-language speaking candidates are running in the constituencies of Helsinki or Uusimaa.

There are also slightly more Swedish-speaking candidates than persons entitled to vote. Of the persons entitled to vote, 5.2 per cent speak Swedish as their native language, while 6.0 per cent of the candidates do. In Mainland Finland, the Swedish-speaking candidates are focused on the constituencies of Vaasa, Helsinki, Uusimaa and Varsinais-Suomi.

Table 5. Persons entitled to vote, candidates and elected MPs by sex and language in Parliamentary elections 2019, %

  Male Female Total
Persons ent. to vote Finnish, sami 92.2 92.2 92.2
Swedish 5.4 5.1 5.2
Other language 2.3 2.6 2.4
Unknown 0.1 0.1 0.1
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0
Candidates total Finnish, sami 91.4 90.8 91.2
Swedish 5.3 6.9 6.0
Other language 2.6 1.9 2.3
Unknown 0.7 0.3 0.5
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0
Elected MPs Finnish, sami 90.6 94.7 92.5
Swedish 8.5 5.3 7.0
Other language .. .. 0.5
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0

The Green League, the Left Alliance and the Social Democratic Party have the most foreign-language speaking candidates, 3.7 per cent. In turn, the number of foreign-language speaking candidates is lowest in the Finns Party, the Swedish People's Party and the Christian Democrats, around one per cent or lower.

Of the elected MPs, 0.5 per cent are foreign-language speakers and 7.0 Swedish speakers. The share of foreign-language speakers among the elected MPs is two percentage lower than their share among persons entitled to vote. The share of Swedish speakers among elected MPs is slightly bigger than their share of the population.

Figure 8. Foreign-language speakers’ proportion of persons entitled to vote, candidates (by party) and elected MPs in Parliamentary elections 2019, %

Figure 8. Foreign-language speakers’ proportion of persons entitled to vote, candidates (by party) and elected MPs in Parliamentary elections 2019, %
In all, 2.4 per cent of the candidates are of foreign origin

The foreign background of the population can also be examined by the person's origin. Persons, whose both parents (or only parent) have been born abroad, are defined as persons of foreign origin. In the Parliamentary elections 2019, altogether 2.4 per cent of the candidates and 2.5 per cent of persons entitled to vote are of foreign origin. Compared with the previous elections, the proportion of persons of foreign origin has grown among persons entitled to vote, but remained on the same level among the candidates. The proportion of persons of foreign origin among all persons living in Finland is, however, higher, as only Finnish citizens are entitled to vote and eligible to stand as candidates in the Parliamentary elections. For example, around seven per cent of the population living in Finland were of foreign origin in 2017.

Figure 9. The proportion of persons of foreign origin among persons entitled to vote and candidates in Parliamentary elections 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019, %

Figure 9. The proportion of persons of foreign origin among persons entitled to vote and candidates in Parliamentary elections 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019, %
Latest data concerning the population living in Finland is from at the end of 2017

Of the parliamentary parties, the Social Democratic Party and the Left Alliance (4.2%) have the most candidates of foreign origin. Of the parliamentary parties, the Finns Party has the least candidates of foreign origin, around half a per cent of the nominated candidates.

In all, 0.5 per cent of the elected MPs are of foreign origin.

Figure 10. Proportion of persons entitled to vote, candidates (by party) and elected MPs of foreign origin in Parliamentary elections 2019, %

Figure 10. Proportion of persons entitled to vote, candidates (by party) and elected MPs of foreign origin in Parliamentary elections 2019, %

1.5. Educational level

More and more highly educated people are seeking entry to the Parliament

Highly educated people are seeking entry to the Parliament. The education level of candidates has risen from one election to another. In the 2007 elections, around 14 per cent of candidates had only basic level education and in the 2015 elections, slightly under 10 per cent and now in the 2019 elections, 8.5 per cent have only basic level education. Correspondingly, the share of candidates with tertiary level qualifications has increased from the 2007 elections by around nine percentage points, from 39 to 48 per cent.

Of persons entitled to vote, around 23 per cent have tertiary level qualifications and 24 per cent have only basic level education.

The candidates of the Green League and the National Coalition Party have the highest level of education, one-half of them have higher tertiary or doctorate level degrees. The number of candidates with this level of education is lowest among the candidates of the Finns Party (17.4%), the Blue Reform and the Left Alliance (in both around 23%).

Seventy per cent of elected MPs have tertiary level qualifications

Highly educated people are elected as MPs. Over 70 per cent of the elected MPs have tertiary level education, while this is the case for around one-half of all candidates and for about 23 per cent of all persons entitled to vote. Just three per cent of the MPs rely on basic level education. Of the candidates 8.5 per cent had completed only basic level education and around 24 per cent of all persons entitled to vote.

Women are nowadays more educated than men, particularly in the youngest age groups. This is also the case in the new Parliament. Around 82 per cent of female MPs have completed tertiary level qualifications and 62 per cent of male MPs.

Table 6. Persons entitled to vote and candidates (by party) and elected MPs by educational level in Parliamentary elections 2019, %

  Basic level Upper secondary level Lowest level tertiary Lower-degree tertiary Higher-degree level tertiary, doctorate Total
Persons ent. to vote 24.0 43.5 10.0 11.8 10.7 100.0
Candidates            
Candidates total 8.5 34.0 9.4 16.1 32.,1 100.0
Centre Party of Finland KESK 2.3 22.7 13.4 19.0 42.6 100.0
Finns Party PS 10.8 43.7 10.3 17.8 17.4 100.0
National Coalition Party KOK 2.8 18.5 10.9 15.2 52.6 100.0
Finnish Social Democratic Party SDP 6.0 29.2 11.6 19.0 34.3 100.0
Green League VIHR 3.7 19.9 4.6 17.1 54.6 100.0
Left Alliance VAS 5.1 44.4 5.1 22.2 23.1 100.0
Swedish People’s Party in Finland RKP 5.1 26.5 4.1 18.4 45.9 100.0
Christian Democrats in Finland KD 5.8 22.1 12.6 15.8 43.7 100.0
Blue Reform SIN 11.2 37.5 17.1 11.2 23.0 100.0
Others 14.9 44.6 8.0 12.8 19.7 100.0
Elected MPs            
Male 4.7 27.4 5.7 15.1 47.2 100.0
Female 1.1 11.7 5.3 14.9 67.0 100.0
Total 3.0 20.0 5.5 15.0 56.5 100.0

1.6. Labour market position

A majority of candidates are in working life

The biggest difference in the main activity of candidates and persons entitled to vote is found in the share of employed persons and pensioners. The latest statistical data on the population’s main type of activity are from the end of 2017. At that time, a little over one-half of all persons entitled to vote were employed, while over 70 per cent of the candidates were employed. There are, in turn, clearly more pensioners among persons entitled to vote than among candidates, i.e. around 32 per cent. Around one in ten of the candidates are pensioners. The difference is mainly caused by the age structure. Of the candidates, around ten per cent are aged 65 or over, while 28 per cent of the persons entitled to vote have turned 65. If the candidates are compared with the persons entitled to vote aged under 65, the difference between the candidates and persons entitled to vote decreases.

Over 90 per cent of the Coalition Party and Centre Party candidates are employed. In addition, over 80 per cent of the Social Democratic Party, Green League, Swedish People's Party and Finns Party candidates are working. Of the parliamentary parties, the share of employed persons is lowest for the candidates of the Blue Reform, where around 60 per cent were employed at the end of 2017. The share of pensioners is nearly triple for candidates outside the parliamentary parties (18.5%) compared with the parliamentary parties (6.7%). Of the parliamentary parties, the Blue Reform (23.7%) and the Swedish People's Party (11.1%) have the most pensioner candidates.

The number of students is slightly higher among persons entitled to vote and that of unemployed persons slightly lower than among the candidates. The Swedish People's Party has the most student candidates and the Left Alliance and the Blue Reform have the most unemployed candidates.

Nearly all elected MPs, or 96.5 per cent, were employed at the end of 2017. In all, 1.5 per cent of elected MPs were unemployed and two per cent were pensioners or otherwise in the inactive population.

Figure 11. Persons entitled to vote, candidates (by party) and elected MPs by main type of activity in Parliamentary elections 2019, %

Figure 11. Persons entitled to vote, candidates (by party) and elected MPs by main type of activity in Parliamentary elections 2019, %

Table 7. Persons entitled to vote and candidates (by party) and elected MPs by main type of activity in Parliamentary elections 2019, %

  Employed Unemployed Students Pensioners Others Total
Persons ent. to vote 52.3 6.3 6.5 31.6 3.3 100.0
Pers. ent. to vote, -64-y. 71.5 8.7 9.1 6.3 4.5 100.0
Candidates total 72.6 8.9 4.8 10.1 3.6 100.0
Centre Party of Finland KESK 89.4 1.9 4.2 3.7 0.9 100.0
Finns Party PS 83.1 6.1 2.3 5.6 2.8 100.0
National Coalition Party KOK 91.5 0.9 3.3 2.4 1.9 100.0
Finnish Social Democratic Party SDP 88.4 4.2 1.9 4.6 0.9 100.0
Green League VIHR 85.6 5.6 3.7 2.3 2.8 100.0
Left Alliance VAS 76.9 13.0 3.2 5.1 1.9 100.0
Swedish People’s Party in Finland RKP 83.7 1.0 5.1 7.1 3.1 100.0
Christian Democrats in Finland KD 77.9 7.4 2.6 11.1 1.1 100.0
Blue Reform SIN 60.5 11.2 1.3 23.0 3.9 100.0
Others 49.2 16.1 9.1 18.4 7.3 100.0
Elected MPs 96.5 1.5 - 1.5 0.5 100.0
Employment rate highest among candidates of the Centre Party of Finland, the Finnish Social Democratic Party, and the National Coalition Party

The employment rate refers to the ratio of employed persons to the population of a particular age, usually the age group 15 to 64 is used. Here, the employment rate has been calculated for the age group 18 to 64. The employment rate of persons entitled to vote is 71.5 per cent. The employment rate of the candidates is clearly higher. The employment rate of all candidates is 78.6 per cent. The employment rate is highest among the candidates of the Coalition Party, the Centre Party and the Social Democratic Party: their employment rate is around 93 per cent. The Blue Reform candidates have the lowest employment rate among the parliamentary parties, 71.3 per cent.

Women's employment rate is usually higher. The employment rate of women entitled to vote is 2.4 percentage points higher than that of men, and the rate of women candidates is four percentage points higher than that of men candidates. There are, however, differences between the parties. Women's employment rate is higher than men's for the candidates of the Finns Party, the Green League, the Centre Party, the Social Democratic Party and the Blue Reform. The employment rate is highest of all for the women candidates of the Finns Party, 95 per cent.

Figure 12. Employment rate of persons entitled to vote and candidates by party in Parliamentary elections 2019, share of employed persons aged 18 to 64, %

Figure 12. Employment rate of persons entitled to vote and candidates by party in Parliamentary elections 2019, share of employed persons aged 18 to 64, %
Majority of employed candidates salaried employees

Seventy per cent of employed candidates are salaried employees. Around 59 per cent of employed persons entitled to vote belong to this group. The Swedish People's Party and the Christian Democrats have the most salaried employees (around 80 per cent) as candidates. For all parliamentary parties, the proportion of salaried employees is higher among candidates than among persons entitled to vote. However, the number of salaried employees among candidates of parties outside the parliament and constituency associations is clearly lower than in the parliamentary parties.

One in ten persons entitled to vote and slightly more of the candidates (12%) are self-employed. Among the parliamentary parties, the most candidates with entrepreneurial background can be found in the Blue Reform and the Centre Party. The socio-economic group of 28 per cent of persons entitled to vote is manual worker. A clearly smaller proportion of candidates belong to this group (12.4 %). The Left Alliance (22%) and the Social Democratic Party have most worker (18.4%) candidates.

Nearly 80 per cent of the elected MPs were upper-level employees. Two per cent have an entrepreneurial background and three per cent are in worker occupations. Nearly one-half of the new elected MPs are upper-level employees.

Figure 13. Persons entitled to vote, candidates (by party) and elected MPs by socio-economic group in Parliamentary elections 2019, %

Figure 13. Persons entitled to vote, candidates (by party) and elected MPs by socio-economic group in Parliamentary elections 2019, %
The central government sector employs candidates more than persons entitled to vote

Of employed candidates, 43 per cent work in the public sector. Roughly the same proportion of candidates and persons entitled to vote work in the local government sector but the central government sector employs clearly more MP candidates than persons entitled to vote. When around five per cent of all persons entitled to vote work in the central government sector, among candidates their proportion is nearly one fifth. This is largely explained by the fact that 165 of the candidates are Members of Parliament who are thus employed by the central government sector. If we only examine candidates who are not Members of Parliament at the moment, the proportion of employees in the central government sector is still emphasised among candidates: 10.6 per cent of new candidates work in the central government sector.

The employer sector of the candidates varies significantly by party. The Coalition Party and the Centre Party have the most candidates working in the central government sector, around 27 per cent, the Christian Democrats (11.0%) and the Left Alliance (11.6%) the least. Most local government sector employees were found among the candidates of the SDP, the Left Alliance and the Green League, good one third. Most candidates working in the private sector are those of the Swedish People's Party and the Christian Democrats, that is, over one half. The Blue Reform (18.7%) and the Centre Party of Finland (15.5%) have the most self-employed candidates.

Over one-half of new elected MPs are representatives of the private sector

The majority, around two-thirds, of the elected MPs work in the central government sector, which is explained by the re-election of the current MPs. In turn, over one-half of the new MPs work in the private sector, 18.0 per cent are wage and salary earners in the central government sector and nearly one quarter in the local government sector.

Figure 14. Persons entitled to vote, candidates (by party) and elected MPs by employer sector in Parliamentary elections 2019, %

Figure 14. Persons entitled to vote, candidates (by party) and elected MPs by employer sector in Parliamentary elections 2019, %

1.7. Family status

One-quarter of persons entitled to vote and one-fifth of candidates live alone

The candidates also differ in their family status from persons entitled to vote: considerably more of them are parents of a family with children and clearly fewer are childless couples than is the case among persons entitled to vote. This is of course explained by that the age structure of candidates is younger than among persons entitled to vote. For a majority of those entitled to vote, children have already moved from home, while most candidates are at an age when children are still living at home.

Of all persons entitled to vote, around 20 per cent are parents living in two-parent families. Nearly three per cent of all persons entitled to vote are single parents. Of persons entitled to vote, approximately 38 per cent are childless couples, close on 26 per cent live alone without a family, and around five per cent are young adults living at home with their parents. The remaining roughly nine per cent are persons without a family living together with some others, are homeless or in the institutional population.

The National Coalition Party (44.1%) and the Centre Party of Finland (38%) have the most candidates that are parents living in two-parent families. The Blue Reform has the least candidates who are parents of a married/cohabiting family, only one-fifth of their candidates belong to this group. Of all candidates, 5.0 per cent are single parents. Their share is biggest among the Green League (7.4%) and Left Alliance candidates (6.5%).

Figure 15. Persons entitled to vote, candidates (by party) and by family status in Parliamentary elections 2019, %

Figure 15. Persons entitled to vote, candidates (by party) and by family status in Parliamentary elections 2019, %

The Swedish People's Party in Finland (8.2%) has the most candidates that are young adults living at home with their parents. The Blue Reform has the highest number of candidates living alone without a family, around one quarter or the same number as people living alone among persons entitled to vote.

One-half of elected MPs are parents of families with children

Nearly one-half of the elected MPs are parents of families with underage children, that is, they are living together with their underage children in the same family. Of the elected women, 51 per cent are living in a one or two-supporter family with their children, while this is so for around 44 per cent of men. Slightly under 30 per cent of both men and women elected are couples without underage children living at home. In all, 15.5 per cent of the elected MPs are living alone without a family, 17 per cent of men and correspondingly 14 per cent of women.

Candidates of the Christian Democrats in Finland have most children

Although the majority of persons entitled to vote and many candidates are not at the moment going through the everyday life of a family with children, it does not mean that they do not have experiences of it. Thirty-four per cent of persons entitled to vote have never had or do not yet have children of their own, while about 30 per cent of the candidates are completely childless. The Christian Democrats have the lowest proportion of candidates without children, around 20 per cent.

Figure 16. Persons entitled to vote, candidates (by party) and elected MPs by number of children in Parliamentary elections 2019, %

Figure 16. Persons entitled to vote, candidates (by party) and elected MPs by number of children in Parliamentary elections 2019, %

On average, female candidates have 1.8 children and male candidates 1.7 children. Women entitled to vote have, on average, 1.6 children and men 1.4. These figures include all biological and adopted children of the person regardless of their age or whether they still live at home.

Around one-fifth of the elected MPs are childless among both men and women. In all, 23 per cent of the elected women and 38 per cent of the men have at least three children. On average, elected women MPs have 1.8 and men 2.2 children.

1.8. Income level

Candidates’ income level higher than that of persons entitled to vote

The following examines the persons entitled to vote and the candidates by their disposable income. The income data derive from the latest taxation data from 2017. Disposable monetary income refers to the monetary income after taxes that consists of earned income, property income, and transfer income.

Candidates are more highly educated and a larger share of them are also working than among persons entitled to vote. This largely explains why their income level is also higher than that of persons entitled to vote. The median disposable income of the candidates is EUR 29,100 and that of all persons entitled to vote EUR 21,500. The candidates' disposable income is about 36 per cent higher than that of persons entitled to vote.

The National Coalition Party candidates have the biggest income difference with persons entitled to vote, as their disposable income is over two times higher compared with persons entitled to vote. The income of candidates in the Centre Party of Finland, the Swedish People's Party and the Social Democratic Party is also at least 70 to 80 per cent higher than that of those entitled to vote. Of the parliamentary parties, the Blue Reform is closest to the voters with a disposable income of EUR 26,300.

The median for the disposable monetary income of all elected MPs is EUR 55,400 per year. The average disposable monetary income among those elected MPs is clearly higher than among persons entitled to vote or candidates. Compared to persons entitled to vote, the disposable income of elected MPs is 2.6 times higher and compared to candidates, almost two times higher. New elected MPs also have higher income than those entitled to vote and candidates, their monetary income being around EUR 41,100.

Figure 17. Median disposable income of persons entitled to vote, candidates (by party) and elected MPs in Parliamentary elections 2019, EUR per year

Figure 17. Median disposable income of persons entitled to vote, candidates (by party) and elected MPs in Parliamentary elections 2019, EUR per year
Candidates from the National Coalition Party have the highest income

When the population entitled to vote is arranged according to the income of 2017 and divided into ten equal parts, the income deciles of the population entitled to vote are generated. Each decile contains around 425,000 persons. The highest income decile of the population entitled to vote has at least EUR 39,600 at their disposal and the lowest income decile at most EUR 9,400.

Of all candidates, 27 per cent belong to the highest income decile. Of the candidates, those representing the National Coalition Party and the Centre Party belong to the higher end of the income distribution. Sixty-six per cent of male candidates and 57 per cent of female candidates in the National Coalition Party belong to the highest income decile. Among the candidates of the Centre Party, around 58 per cent of men and 41 per cent of women belong to the highest income decile.

Figure 18. Candidates (by party), elected MPs and persons entitled to vote belonging to the highest income decile in Parliamentary elections 2019, % of the party’s candidates (disposable monetary income)

Figure 18. Candidates (by party), elected MPs and persons entitled to vote belonging to the highest income decile in Parliamentary elections 2019, % of the party’s candidates (disposable monetary income)

There are fewer women in the highest income decile both among persons entitled to vote and candidates. The biggest difference between sexes is found among the Swedish People's Party, Centre Party and Left Alliance candidates. In these parties, there are over ten percentage points more men in the highest income decile than women. Only the Social Democratic Party has an opposite setting: 42 per cent of its female candidates and 37 per cent of its male candidates belong to the highest income decile.

Figure 19. Candidates (by party), elected MPs and persons entitled to vote belonging to the lowest income decile in Parliamentary elections 2019, % of the party’s candidates (disposable monetary income)

Figure 19. Candidates (by party), elected MPs and persons entitled to vote belonging to the lowest income decile in Parliamentary elections 2019, % of the party’s candidates (disposable monetary income)

There are also more men than women in the lowest income decile, but the differences between women and men are smaller than among those belonging to the highest income bracket. Female candidates in the Swedish People's Party and the National Coalition Party are an exception here: More of them belong to the lowest income bracket than their parties’ male candidates.

The majority of the elected MPs, or 80 per cent, belong to the highest income decile and none of the elected MPs are in the lowest income decile.

Table 8. Persons entitled to vote, candidates (by party) and elected MPs belonging to the highest and lowest-income decile in Parliamentary elections 2019, % of the party’s candidates

  Lowest-income decile Highest-income decile
Male Female Total Male Female Total
Persons ent. to vote 10.7 9.3 10.0 14.2 6.0 10.0
Candidates total 8.6 5.8 7.4 28.5 26.3 27.6
Centre Party of Finland KESK 6.9 3.0 5.1 57.8 41.0 50.0
Finns Party PS 4.8 4.5 4.7 26.2 25.4 25.9
National Coalition Party KOK 2.6 6.3 4.3 66.1 57.9 62.4
Finnish Social Democratic Party SDP 2.8 2.8 2.8 36.7 42.1 39.4
Green League VIHR 9.8 3.7 6.0 31.7 26.9 28.7
Left Alliance VAS 6.4 6.5 6.5 23.9 12.1 18.1
Swedish People’s Party in Finland RKP 4.4 9.6 7.2 60.0 32.7 45.4
Christian Democrats in Finland KD 3.2 2.1 2.6 31.2 25.0 28.0
Blue Reform SIN 6.9 4.0 5.9 23.5 14.0 20.4
Others 14.6 10.7 13.4 10.5 7.1 9.4
Elected MPs - - - 80.2 81.9 81.0

Source: Parliamentary Elections 2019, background analysis of elected MPs. Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Sami Fredriksson 029 551 2696, Kaija Ruotsalainen 029 551 3599, vaalit@stat.fi

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma


Updated 29.4.2019

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Parliamentary elections [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-6279. Candidates and elected MPs 2019, 1. Background analysis of candidates and elected MPs in Parliamentary elections 2019 . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 8.12.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/evaa/2019/02/evaa_2019_02_2019-04-29_kat_001_en.html