Quality description: Population structure 2010

1. Relevance of statistical information

The statistics on population structure describe the population resident in Finland on the last day of the year.

The Population Register Centre and local register offices maintain Finland’s Population Information System. The last population yearly checking of domicile registers 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 act on the Population Information System and on the certificate services of the Population Register Centre (21 August 2009/661). Notifications on population changes for the past year are expected by the last day of January. At the beginning of February the Population Register Centre supplies to Statistics Finland the population data for the turn of the year.

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 working order defines the Population Statistics unit as the producer of demographic statistics (Statistics Finland’s working order, TK-00-1469-10).

Concepts

Age refers to the age of the person in full years on the last day of the year. The data are from the Population Register Centre’s Population Information System.

Citizenship refers to a legislative bond between an individual and the State defining the individual’s status in the State as well as the basic rights and duties existing between the individual and the State (Nationality Act, 359/2003). Persons with both Finnish and foreign citizenship will be entered in the statistics as Finnish nationals. If a foreign national living in Finland has several nationalities, that person will be entered in the statistics as a national of the country on whose passport he or she arrived in the country.

The ISO 3166 standard is used in the classification of citizenship.

Country of birth 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. The country of birth is indicated according to the form of government at the time of birth. The ISO 3166 standard is used in the coding of the country of birth.

Language is recorded in the Population Information System at the same time as parents register the name and religious denomination of their newborn. That language will be changed only upon separate application. For those babies born at the end of the year, for whom no name, language and religion have been registered in the Population Information System during January, the mother’s language and religion are entered in the statistics for the end of the year. For the next year’s statistics this information has become revised once notifications have been received. Language can change for children of bilingual families in case the father’s language is entered for them in the Population Information System.

In the 2010 reliability survey of the Population Information System some 9,100 working-age persons were asked if the language registered for them in the Population Information System was correct. Language information was correct for 99.6 per cent of the respondents.

Since 1999 Statistics Finland has received from the Population Register Centre languages already coded (ISO 639-1) and non-coded languages in plain language. These plain language names include several names of languages written incorrectly or in Swedish that can be coded. Statistics Finland gives a code for these languages. In previous years Statistics Finland has coded all languages from plain language names and given a code for a language if it has around 15 speakers in Finland.

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

In 2010 the Population Information System included 31,500 persons without data on marital status. They are immigrants whose marital status could not be ascertained. The Population Information Act requires storing of data on marital status in the Population Information System only as concerns Finnish citizens. In the statistics childless persons were coded as unmarried and if they had children, their absent marital status was changed into divorced.

Mean population is the arithmetic mean of the population at the beginning and end of the year.

Place of residence refers to the location of the dwelling in which the person was registered on the last day of the year. The present Municipality of Residence Act gives people greater freedom of choice over the locality where they wish to be registered as permanently resident. For example, students may register in the locality where they are studying. Homeless people are also counted in the permanently resident population.

As well as a permanent place of residence, a person may have a temporary place of residence in a dwelling that this person says he or she occupies temporarily for at least three months. Statistics are compiled only on the basis of permanent places of residence. Data on the place of residence derive from the Population Information System of the Population Register Centre.

Population includes those Finnish citizens and foreigners living permanently in Finland even if temporarily residing abroad.

Foreign nationals are domiciled in Finland if their stay is intended to last or has lasted at least one year. The statistics do not include persons temporarily staying in Finland or asylum seekers, who have only a temporary residence permit or whose application for a residence permit is still under processing. An asylum-seeker is not granted a legal domicile and included in the statistics until his or her application has been approved.

The staff of foreign embassies, trade missions and consulates, their family members and personal employees included, are not counted among the resident population unless they are Finnish citizens. On the other hand, the Finnish staff of Finland's embassies and trade missions abroad and persons serving in the UN peacekeeping forces are counted among the resident population.

Data on religious community are derived from the Population Register Centre’s Population Information System. Religious denomination is reported to the Population Information System for every child when given a name. That information will be changed only upon separate application.

The new Freedom of Religion Act (453/2003) entered into force on 1 August 2003. The new act allowed simultaneous membership to several religious communities after a three-year transition period. The transition period ended on 1 August 2006, after which religious communities can self decide whether their members can also belong to other religious communities. If a person is a member of more than one religious community, the person is included in Statistics Finland’s statistics on religious communities in the number of members of the religious community which he or she first joined. These persons are missing from the number of members of the religious community they had joined while they already belonged to some other religious community.

Statistics on religious communities are compiled only on persons belonging to religious communities included in the register of the National Board of Patents and Registration. A religious community can be established in Finland by at least 20 adult persons (Freedom of Religion Act 453/2003).

For those babies born at the end of the year, for whom no name, language and religion have been registered in the Population Information System during January, the mother’s language and religion are entered in the statistics for the end of the year. For the next year’s statistics this information has become revised once notifications have been received.

The information on religious community does not represent foreigners accurately. Not all their religious communities are included in the register of the National Board of Patents and Registration and not all those practising a religion belong to parishes. At the end of 2010, 82 per cent of foreign-language speakers did not belong to any registered religious community according to the Population Information System.

Data on religious communities are defined as very sensitive. Data can be released by region on religious communities with at least five cases and by municipality on those with at least ten cases.

Statistical grouping of municipalities is a classification developed by Statistics Finland that replaces production of statistics on municipalities as towns and other municipalities. The classification has been in use since 1989. The classification allows for more accurate distinctions between urban and rural areas than did the administrative classification into towns and other municipalities.

The grouping of municipalities divides municipalities into three categories according to the proportion of people living in urban settlements and the population of the largest urban settlement:

  • Urban municipalities

  • Semi-urban municipalities

  • Rural municipalities

Urban municipalities include those municipalities in which at least 90 per cent of the population lives in urban settlements or in which the population of the largest urban settlement is at least 15,000.

Semi-urban municipalities are municipalities in which at least 60 per cent but less than 90 per cent of the population lives in urban settlements and in which the population of the largest urban settlement is at least 4,000 but less than 15,000.

Rural municipalities include those municipalities in which less than 60 per cent of the population lives in urban settlements and in which the population of the largest urban settlement is less than 15,000; and those municipalities in which at least 60 per cent but less than 90 per cent of the population lives in urban settlements and in which the population of the largest settlement is less than 4,000.

The now used classification is based on the data for 2005 based on the data on boundaries of urban settlements. The classification will be updated on the basis of the 2010 data in the course of autumn 2011.

A list of all municipalities according to grouping of municipalities formed on the basis of the boundaries of urban settlements is included in Statistics Finland's publication Regional Divisions Based on Municipalities. The publication also contains a list of municipalities, types of municipalities and changes in them.

2. Methodological description of survey

Population data are total data. They include the entire population living in Finland drawn from the Population Information System.

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 impossible 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. Staying in Finland for at least one year is the prerequisite for registering into the population of Finland.

After abolishment of yearly checking of domicile registers 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 the correctness of the address information. Around 11,000 people are asked whether their address in the Population Information System is correct. In the 2010 survey, the address was correct for 99.0 per cent of the respondents. The non-response of this survey was 13.4 per cent. As regards the non-response, attempts were made to check the addresses from other sources. The address could be ascertained as correct for 92.2 per cent and as incorrect for 4.6 per cent of the persons included in the non-response. The address of 3.2 per cent of the persons in the non-response could not be checked. If we assume that all the unchecked data of persons in the non-response are incorrect, the final proportion of correct addresses would be 98.1 per cent.

Incorrect addresses influence population statistics by municipality only if the incorrect address is in a different municipality than the correct one. Only some of the incorrect addresses are in the wrong municipality.

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 Population Register Centre 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

Statistics Finland dates the population at the turn of the year as at the last day of the year. 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 on the last day of the previous year. Information on the population sizes of the united municipalities before the unification is available, where necessary.

Preliminary population data by municipality are available by month.

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 ‘Population’ online service (Statistical databases) at: http://pxweb2.stat.fi/database/StatFin/vrm/vaerak/vaerak_en.asp

The chargeable information service contains more specified information about the population by sub-area of municipality, for example. The Altika statistical service also includes municipality-specific population data from 1975 onwards. More information about Statistics Finland’s chargeable services is available at: http://www.stat.fi/tup/tilastotietokannat/index_en.html

6. Comparability of statistics

Until 1998 population statistics by municipality for the turn of the year were compiled according to the regional division of the last day of the year. From 1999 the regional division used has been the first day of the following year. When calculating the change in the population size of a municipality, the previous population numbers of the unifying municipalities are taken into account.

When producing tables on regional time series of the population the tables can be made either according to the regional division of each year or by updating the regional division retrospectively to correspond to the statistics of the last year. The tables always indicate which regional division is used.

Population data are available from 1749 onwards. The number of population has been made public by parish from 1865 and by municipality from 1920 onwards. The ten-year tables of the clergy provide information about the population’s age, marital status and language by parish until 1940. From 1950 onwards these data are available by municipality every ten years on the basis of population censuses. Annual population data by municipality on age, marital status and language can be obtained starting from 1970.

Population data by municipality are available in electronic form in the Altika information service from 1975 onwards. The population time series in the free ‘Population’ online service begin from the year 1865, by municipality from 1980.

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.

The Population Register Centre publishes the number of inhabitants in Finland at the turn of the year on its Internet pages at the turn of February and March. The figure is the same as given in Statistics Finland’s statistics at the turn of the year.

In addition, the Population Register Centre releases the number of inhabitants by month. The figures differ from Statistics Finland’s monthly preliminary statistics. The Population Register Centre makes public the register situation at the end of each month. Statistics Finland waits for notifications of changes for two weeks from the end of the month before compiling preliminary statistics on the situation at the end of the previous month.


Source: Population Structure 2010, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Markus Rapo (09) 1734 3238, vaesto.tilasto@stat.fi

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma


Updated 30.9.2011

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Population structure [e-publication].
ISSN=1797-5395. annual review 2010, Quality description: Population structure 2010 . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 16.12.2017].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/vaerak/2010/01/vaerak_2010_01_2011-09-30_laa_001_en.html

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