2. Three per cent of families have one Finnish-speaking and one Swedish-speaking parent

In 85 per cent of all families, the only parent or both parents are Finnish-speaking. Correspondingly, four per cent of families are entirely Swedish-speaking. Families where one spouse is Swedish-speaking and the other Finnish-speaking account for three per cent of all families. Combinations of Finnish and Swedish-speakers with other languages can be found in around four per cent of all families. Families where both of the spouses or the only parent are foreign-language speakers number 63,200, which equals four per cent of all families.

In clearly more cases, Swedish-speaking men have Finnish-speaking wives than Swedish-speaking women Finnish-speaking husbands. The number of purely Swedish-speaking couples is only 3,700 higher than that of Finnish and Swedish-speaking couples.

Altogether, 31,000 Finnish or Swedish-speaking men are married to or cohabiting with a foreign-language speaking woman. The corresponding figure for women is 24,600. Unions with foreign-language speakers increased by 1,860 in 2016.

Table 4. Families speaking Finnish, Swedish or other language in 1990–2016

Man/woman
finnish, swedish
or foreign speaking
Year
1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2016
Finnish speaking
man and
finnish speaking
woman
1 088 742 1 081 473 1 089 232 1 105 316 1 114 828 1 106 115 1 100 370
Finnish speaking
man and
swedish speaking
woman
16 544 16 876 17 394 17 904 18 337 18 527 18 455
Finnish speaking
woman and
swedish speaking
man
22 734 22 822 23 445 24 218 24 552 24 693 24 544
Finnish speaking
man and
foreign speaking
woman
4 020 7 636 11 094 16 062 21 772 28 101 29 069
Finnish speaking
woman and
foreign speaking
man
5 951 8 679 10 236 13 181 17 441 22 211 22 957
Finnishspeaking
mother/father
162 209 174 554 174 861 166 741 161 302 158 233 158 771
Swedish speaking
man and
swedish speaking
woman
53 348 50 845 49 198 48 190 47 881 46 982 46 722
Swedish speaking
man and
foreign speaking
woman
300 483 655 982 1 434 1 882 1 969
Swedish speaking
woman and
foreign speaking
man
410 597 678 943 1 261 1 595 1 654
Swedish speaking
mother/father
8 489 8 871 8 609 8 147 7 953 7 856 7 860
Foreign speaking
man and
foreign speaking
woman
1 832 7 425 11 668 16 944 27 638 43 527 46 433
Foreign speaking
mother/father
792 2 709 4 893 7 374 10 674 15 638 16 779

2.1 Number of Russian-speaking families has grown by around one thousand

The largest foreign-language group in Finland is made up of Russian speakers. At the end of 2016, there were 15,400 such Russian-speaking families in Finland where the native language of the only parent or both parents was Russian. The number of families where one of the spouses is Russian-speaking is slightly lower at 13,328. The number of Russian-speaking families is 972 higher than in the year before.

The number of Russian-speaking one-parent families is 4,300, which is 14 per cent of all Russian-speaking families. Among Russian-speakers, one-parent families are slightly more common than one-parent families are of all families (12.5%). Of Russian-speaking one-parent families, 95 per cent are formed by mothers and children, while this is so for 83 per cent of all families with one parent.

The most common language combination among the Russian-speaking families is one where the husband and the wife speak Russian. During 2016, the number of such couples has grown by nearly 500. In 1990, there were only 300 Russian-speaking couples in Finland, today their number has gone up to 11,200.

The second most common language combination in Russian-speaking families is a Finnish-speaking husband and a Russian-speaking wife (8,600). It is still fairly rare for a Finnish-speaking woman to have a Russian-speaking spouse. At the end of 2016, their number was 1,700.

2.2 Six per cent of families have a foreign citizen as a parent

In only six per cent (88,889 families) of all families in Finland at least one of the spouses or the only parent is a foreign citizen. There were only 12,500 such families in Finland in 1990 and as many as 36,000 in 2000. In the past year, the number of such families has increased by 3,300. In absolute numbers, the number of families where a Finnish woman had a foreign man grew most.

In the early 1990s, the most common combination in families of foreign citizens was one where the wife was a Finnish citizen and the husband a foreign citizen. The number of foreign families in which the wife was a foreign national and the husband a Finnish national was the largest at the beginning of the 2000s. In 2013, the most common combination in families of foreign citizens was still one where the husband is a Finnish citizen and the wife a foreign citizen. In 2014, families of two foreign spouses became the most common family type for foreign citizens. Now the number of families formed by two foreign spouses is 26,800 (Figure 3). No distinction is made between married and cohabiting couples here.

In families where at least one of the spouses or the only parent is a foreign citizen, the largest group of foreign citizens is families with Estonian citizens, 15,100. In turn, families of Russian citizens numbered 12,200.

Entirely foreign families, i.e. families where the only parent or both of the spouses are foreign citizens, total 37,100. There were 5,300 families where both of the spouses or the only parent are Russian citizens at the end of 2016. There were 9,300 entirely Estonian families of which 31 per cent were families consisting of mother and children only. The number of Estonian families increased by 179 from the year before. Families of two Chinese citizens or with one Chinese parent numbered 1,300. The number of these families grew by 24 from the previous year. Twelve per cent of the families of Chinese citizens are families of mother and children only.

Figure 3. Families of foreign citizens in 1990, 2006 and 2016

Figure 3. Families of foreign citizens in 1990, 2006 and 2016

2.3 Women’s foreign-born spouses come from a larger variety of countries than men's spouses

An examination of countries of birth gives the best picture of the foreign-born spouses of Finns. However, it should be borne in mind that some children of two Finnish citizens have also been born abroad. For example, the child can be adopted or the parents were living permanently abroad when the child was born. Finnish-born men have 40,600 foreign-born spouses. The number has grown by 975 from the year before. Finnish-born women have 34,700 foreign-born spouses; the number has grown by 900. Today, Finnish men more often have foreign-born spouses than Finnish women.

The foreign-born spouses of Finnish men and women come from a variety of countries. Men's spouses were born mainly in the neighbouring countries and East Asia. Those born in the area of the former Soviet Union cannot be separated into Russians or Estonians (or those born in other republics of the former Soviet Union), because the country of birth for many Estonians is often the Soviet Union and a large number of the spouses from Estonia had already moved to Finland before the collapse of the Soviet Union. Finnish men have 12,500 spouses who were born in the former Soviet Union, Russia or Estonia, and 8,500 spouses who were born in Sweden. The number of spouses born in Thailand is 4,800. The next most common countries of birth for the spouses were China, the Philippines, Germany, the United States and Poland.

Women's spouses born abroad come from a higher number of countries than men's spouses. The number of spouses born in Sweden is 8,800. Husbands born in the former Soviet Union, Russia and Estonia number 3,200, which is 153 more than in the year before. The next most frequent countries of birth of Finnish women's foreign spouses are Great Britain, Germany, Turkey and the USA.

Figure 4A. Foreign-born spouses of Finnish-born men by country of birth in 2016

Figure 4A. Foreign-born spouses of Finnish-born men by country of birth in 2016

Figure 4B. Foreign-born spouses of Finnish-born women by country of birth in 2016

Figure 4B. Foreign-born spouses of Finnish-born women by country of birth in 2016

Source: Population and Justice Statistics, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Marjut Pietilšinen 029 551 2798, Timo Nikander 029 551 3250, Joonas Toivola 029 551 3355, info@stat.fi

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma


Updated 24.11.2017

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Families [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-3231. Annual Review 2016, 2. Three per cent of families have one Finnish-speaking and one Swedish-speaking parent . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 21.1.2018].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/perh/2016/02/perh_2016_02_2017-11-24_kat_002_en.html

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