Concepts and definitions


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.

Change of population

Change of population is defined as increase of population added up with register corrections.


Statistics on deaths are based on data derived from the Population Register Centre's Population Information System maintained by local register offices. People who lived permanently in Finland at the time of their death are entered in the statistics on deaths in Finland. Death certificates are used at Statistics Finland for compiling cause-of-death statistics. The number of deaths in the population statistics differs somewhat from the figure given in the statistics on causes of death. The difference is caused by that the vital statistics do not contain deaths registered as deaths after the compilation time of the statistics (the end of the following year's January).


The divorce statistics are based on data on granted decrees of divorce transmitted to the Population Register Centre by courts of law. The statistics also include cases where a permanent resident of Finland is granted a divorce by a foreign court. If the divorce is granted abroad, it must be reported to the register keeper for registration of divorce. Exceptions are divorces granted to Finnish citizens in Sweden, on which the Swedish register keeper notifies the Finnish counterpart directly.

A divorce granted to a Finnish citizen abroad usually requires validation by the Helsinki Court of Appeal before registration. Divorce decisions given in the Nordic Countries and in the EU countries as of 1 March 2001 can be registered without validation.

As of 1980 'divorces' refer to the divorces of females permanently resident in Finland, unless otherwise indicated.

The amendment to the Marriage Act (411/1987), effective from 1 January 1988, simplified divorce proceedings. Divorce figures began to rise towards the end of 1988, when the first divorces (after a reconsideration period of six months) became effective under the new legislation. The Marriage Act no longer has regulations on 'cancellation of marriage' or 'nullification of marriage'. Before the new act came into force in 1988 these were in separate groups, now among divorces.


Education refers here to education leading to a qualification or degree.

Education leading to a qualification or degree (qualification or degree-oriented education) refers to education leading to the completion of the full syllabus of comprehensive school (school-leaving certificate), completion of the full syllabus of upper secondary general school (matriculation examination certificate), International Baccalaureate certificate, Reifeprüfung certificate, European Baccalaureate certificate, Gymnasieexamen certificate, initial vocational qualification, basic vocational qualification, specialist vocational qualification, university of applied sciences degree, higher university of applied sciences degree or university degree.

Education leading to a qualification or degree is classified by the classification of education.

Excess of births

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

difference between livebirths and deaths.


Persons who have moved to Finland and who intend to reside in Finland for more than twelve months or have resided in Finland over three months without interruption must notify the register office of their move (Population Data Act 507/1993). Foreign nationals who intend to live permanently in Finland must have fulfilled during a year the preconditions of residence (EU national) and have a valid residence permit for longer time than one year (see Act 399/2007). In such cases their place of domicile is determined according to the same principles as for Finnish nationals (Municipality of Residence Act 201/1994). The local register office then enters these data to the Population Information System.

Immigrants in usually resident population are not counted diplomats and those involved in development co-operation, etc. (Act on the Municipality of Domicile 201/1994). In accordance with an agreement between the Nordic countries, a period of temporary residence of less than six months is not construed as a move (On the Entry into Force of the Agreement Relating to the Population Registers in the Nordic countries 851/1990, Agreement Series 49 and Statute on the Municipality of Domicile 351/1994).

When a person migrates from one Nordic country to another, the local population register of the country of exit must provide the migrant with a Nordic Certification of Notice of Departure to be delivered to the local population register of the country of arrival (Decree on the Municipality of Domicile 351/1994, 851/1990, Agreement Series 49). The local population register authority of the country of arrival returns the certification to the register centre of the country of departure. The day on which the migrant is entered into the local population register of the country of arrival is recorded as the date of move.

Infant mortality

Infant mortality is calculated by dividing the number of deaths of infants under one year of age by the number of live births during the statistical year. Multiplying the result by 1,000 gives the figure in per mille.


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.


Marriages contracted refer to marriages contracted by females permanently resident in Finland, unless otherwise indicated. The number of males and females who contracted marriage is not equal because the number of marriages contracted between females permanently resident in Finland and males living permanently abroad differs from the number of marriages contracted between males permanently resident in Finland and females living permanently abroad.


The population refers to the permanent resident population of an area (e.g. entire country, province, municipality). Those persons who according to the Population Information System had a legal domicile in Finland on 31 December belong to the permanent resident population in the country regardless of their nationality, as do Finnish nationals residing temporarily abroad.

Foreign nationals are domiciled in Finland if their stay is intended to last or has lasted at least one year. An asylum-seeker is not granted a legal domicile until his/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.


The resident population of Finland on 31 December is derived from the Population Information System maintained by the Population Register Centre. Since the data for 1993, Statistics Finland and the Population Register Centre have had the same reference period, the turn of the year at midnight, which means that the number of population has been the same.

Total change

Total change is increase of population added up with register corrections of population. Increase of population is the sum of excess of births and total net migration.

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Preliminary population statistics [e-publication].
ISSN=2243-3627. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 15.12.2018].
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