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Press release 8.10.2008

Population is ageing in the Nordic countries

Among the Nordic countries, the fewest children, on average 1.8 children per woman, are born in Finland and Denmark. Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands have the highest numbers of births; in Iceland on average 2.1, in Greenland 2.3 and in the Faroe Islands 2.5 children. At present persons aged 80 or over make up 4-5 per cent of the population in the Nordic countries, but their number is estimated to grow to 12 per cent by the year 2040. These data derive from the recently published Nordic Statistical Yearbook 2008.

The Nordic Statistical Yearbook provides also the following statistical data:

  • The total area of the Nordic countries is 3.5 million square kilometres. Greenland accounts for 64 per cent of that area and Finland for 10 per cent.
  • The most popular first names given to children born in 2007 in Finland were Veeti and Ella, in Sweden William and Wilma, in Denmark Mikkel and Mathilde, in Norway Mathias and Sara, in Iceland Jón and Sara and in Greenland Malik and Pipaluk.
  • The number of asylum requests in the Nordic countries has grown by over 60 per cent between 2005 and 2007. In 2007 a total of 45,317 asylum requests were lodged, of which 36,207 in Sweden and 1,512 in Finland.
  • Women in Finland have the highest educational level in the Nordic countries. Thirty-one per cent of women in Finland have higher education on the tertiary level, while the corresponding proportion in Sweden and Norway stands at 28 per cent, in Denmark at 25 per cent and in Iceland at 20 per cent.
  • Less than 4 per cent of the persons employed in the service sector in Sweden are self-employed, while the corresponding proportions in Finland and Iceland are 10 per cent.

The Nordic Statistical Yearbook is an information package covering more than 100 pages. It contains statistical comparison data on e.g. environment, population, education, labour market, industry structure and economy. The statistics cover the five Nordic countries as well as the autonomous territories of the Åland Islands, the Faroe Islands and Greenland.

In addition to figures and tables, the updated Yearbook contains concise background information on different topics. The data are available both in Swedish and in English. A new feature is free access to a database which contains ample Nordic comparison data. The database and a pdf version of the Yearbook are available on the website of the Nordic Council of Ministers at

The price of the Yearbook published by the Nordic Council of Ministers is EUR 50. The Yearbook can be ordered from Statistics Finland's Sales Service tel. +358 9 1734 2011, email

Inquiries: Mr Hans Baumgartner, Statistics Finland, +358 9 1734 2399,