Concepts and definitions

Age

In connection with vital events, age data refer to the age on the day the event took place. Average age is obtained by adding up the ages of all persons involved in the same event at the time of the event, after which the sum is divided by the number of these persons. As the used age of a person is given in full years at the time of the event, it is not the exact age of that person. For this reason, it is assumed when computing average age that the persons were aged x+0.5, on average, at the time of the event.

Age-specific fertility rate

The age-specific fertility rate indicates the number of live births per 1,000 women of the mean population in the age group in question.

Birth order

The birth order is determined in two ways: either all births to the mother are taken into account, or only the live births during the present marriage are included.

Births

'Liveborn' is the term for a newborn who breathes or shows other signs of life after birth.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) definition, 'stillborn' is the term for a newborn with a birth weight of at least 500 g or, if the birth weight is not available, a newborn born dead after a pregnancy lasting 22 weeks or more. The WHO definition has been in use since 1987. From the 2003 vital statistics onwards, the same national definition is used as in the cause-of-death statistics: 'stillborn' is the term for a newborn with a birth weight of at least 500 g, or a newborn born dead after a pregnancy lasting 22 weeks or more.

Before 1987 stillborn was the term for a newborn born dead after a pregnancy lasting 28 weeks or more.

Children are classified in birth statistics by the mother's marital status at the time of the child's birth. A child born during marriage is a legitimate child. A widow can give birth to a legitimate child if the pregnancy began while she was still married. A child born out of wedlock is illegitimate. Cases where the mother has married the child's father after the child's birth are also considered illegitimate in these statistics. According to the law, such children only become legitimate as of the date when their parents enter into a marriage contract with each other.

Country of birth

All persons entered in the Population Register are indicated a country of birth, which is determined on the basis of the mother's permanent home country at the time of birth. This means, for example, that the country of birth of Estonian immigrants born before Estonian independence is the Soviet Union. Similarly, the country of birth of people who were born in areas that Finland has subsequently ceded is Finland even though the area no longer is Finnish territory. Country of birth is indicated according to the form of government at the time of birth.

Crude birth rate

The crude birth rate refers to the number of births per 1,000 persons of the mean population.

Crude fertility rate

The general fertility rate indicates the number of liveborn children per 1,000 women of the mean population aged 15 to 49.

Educational level

The data on education are based on Statistics Finland's Register of Completed Education and Degrees.

Six categories are used for the level of education in vital statistics: basic level, upper secondary level, lowest level tertiary, lower-degree level tertiary, higher-degree level tertiary and doctorate or equivalent level. Educational level is measured by the duration of education.

Those with basic level qualifications have had at most nine years of education, with leaving certificates from primary schools, middle schools and comprehensive schools.

Those having completed the upper secondary level of education have spent 11 to 12 years in education. These qualifications include matriculation examination, vocational qualifications attained in 1-3 years and further vocational qualifications.

Lowest level tertiary education lasts 2 to 3 years after upper secondary education. Examples of these qualifications include qualification of technician engineer, diploma in business and administration and diploma in nursing, which are not polytechnic degrees. Those having completed lower-degree level tertiary education have had 3 to 4 years of education after upper secondary education.

Lower-degree level tertiary education comprises polytechnic degrees and lower university degrees.

Higher-degree level tertiary education comprises education with a duration of 5 to 6 years after upper secondary education. This type of education leads to higher university degrees (master's degree) and specialist's degrees in medicine.

Completion of doctorate or equivalent level tertiary education requires independent research work or doctorate theses fit for publication. The degrees are scientific licentiate and doctorate degrees.

Excess of births

The excess of births, that is, the natural population increase, refers to the

difference between livebirths and deaths.

Gross reproduction rate

The reproduction of the population refers to a change of a generation into a new one. Reproduction is measured by gross reproduction rates or net reproduction rates that generally indicate the ratio between the sizes of the daughter's and mother's generations. The fertility and mortality of the mother's generation before the end of the childbearing age is taken into account in the calculation of the net reproduction rate. In the gross reproduction rate this mortality is not taken into consideration. If the net reproduction rate calculated per one woman is less than one, the daughter's generation is smaller than the mother's generation and the mother's generation has not reproduced itself.

Increase of population

Increase of population is the sum of excess of births over deaths and net immigration.

Language

Information on language is obtained from the Population Information System. At the same time as parents register the name of their new-born, they also indicate the child's mother tongue. That language is retained in the Population Information System unless it is changed upon separate application.

Languages are classified by the Population Register Centre according to the ISO 639 standard. The future language classification ISO-639-1 was already adopted for the 2000 population census.

Liveborn

Liveborn is the term for a newborn who breaths or shows other signs of life after birth. Only liveborn children of women living permanently in Finland are taken into account in the population statistics.

Marital status

The information on marital status is derived from the Population Information System of the Population Register Centre. It should be noted that common-law marriage or cohabiting is not a marital status. People representing all marital status categories may be cohabiting, including those who are still officially married.

The current divorce regulations no longer recognise the concept of legal separation. Those persons who are legally separated on the basis of the old divorce provisions prior to 1 January 1988 and still living apart have been slotted under married persons in the statistics.

Same-sex couples have been able to register their partnership in Finland as of 1 March 2002. For reasons of data protection, in municipal tables those living in a registered partnership are classified together with married persons, as are those divorced or widowed from a registered partnership with divorced and widowed persons.

The classification of marital status is as follows:

  • Unmarried
  • Married
  • Divorced
  • Widowed
  • Partner in a registered partnership
  • Divorced from a registered partnership
  • Widowed after a registered partnership

Mean population

The notion of mean population (or average population) refers to the average of the populations of two consecutive years. When a ratio describing some phenomenon is calculated for the statistical year, the number of events in the phenomenon in question is usually expressed as a proportion of the mean population of the people or the groups subject to the event. The figures relating to population events are generally given as per 1,000, that is, the result of the division is multiplied by one thousand.

Net reproduction rate

The reproduction of the population refers to a change of a generation into a new one. Reproduction is measured by gross reproduction rates or net reproduction rates that generally indicate the ratio between the sizes of the daughter's and mother's generations. The fertility and mortality of the mother's generation before the end of the childbearing age is taken into account in the calculation of the net reproduction rate. In the gross reproduction rate this mortality is not taken into consideration. If the net reproduction rate calculated per one woman is less than one, the daughter's generation is smaller than the mother's generation and the mother's generation has not reproduced itself.

Proportion of stillbirths

The proportion of stillbirths refers to the number of stillborn children per 1,000 liveborn and stillborn children.

Reproduction of the population

The reproduction of the population refers to a change of a generation into a new one. Reproduction is measured by gross reproduction rates or net reproduction rates that generally indicate the ratio between the sizes of the daughter's and mother's generations. The fertility and mortality of the mother's generation before the end of the childbearing age is taken into account in the calculation of the net reproduction rate. In the gross reproduction rate this mortality is not taken into consideration. If the net reproduction rate calculated per one woman is less than one, the daughter's generation is smaller than the mother's generation and the mother's generation has not reproduced itself.

Sex

The information about sex has been obtained from the Population Information System.

Stillborn

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) definition, stillborn is the term for a newborn with a birth weight of at least 500 g or, if the birth weight is not available, a newborn born dead after a pregnancy lasting 22 weeks or more. The WHO definition has been in use since 1987.

The Population Register Centre does not collect data on stillbirths. These data are obtained from stillbirth certificates written out by physicians. The health care unit or the physician in question forwards the certificate to the Provincial State Office which sends it to Statistics Finland (Decrees 948/73 and 99/98).

In the vital statistics the number of stillbirths differs somewhat from the number of stillbirths in the cause of death statistics. There are two reasons for this difference. Firstly, the vital statistics use the above-mentioned WHO's definition of stillbirths, for which the weight of a new-born is the primary factor in the definition of stillbirths. In the cause of death statistics, that factor is the number of weeks of pregnancy. Secondly, the deadline for data on stillbirths is shorter for the vital statistics than for the cause of death statistics.

Stillborn

From 2003 vital statistics onwards, the same national definition is used as in the cause-of-death statistics: 'stillborn' is the term for a newborn with a birth weight of at least 500 g, or a newborn born dead after a pregnancy lasting 22 weeks or more.

Total fertility

The total fertility rate is obtained by adding together fertility rates calculated for one year. This figure refers to the estimated number of children the woman gives birth to, provided that the fertility rate of that year prevails during the whole reproductive period of that woman on condition that she will not die before the end of the said period.

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Births [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-2413. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 15.12.2017].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/synt/kas_en.html

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