27.5.2022 valid documentation

Basic data of the statistics

Statistical presentation

The statistics on deaths contain data on all persons who according to the Population Information System lived permanently in Finland on the day of their death. The statistics contain population data on the deceased persons, such as age, gender, marital status, language, nationality, country of birth, municipality of birth and municipality of residence. These data apply to the situation on the day of death. In addition, for persons married or in a registered partnership at the time of death the age of their spouse and the duration of their marriage/registered partnership are included. The statistics also contain data on mortality and infant mortality. Data on the population and age and gender distribution data of the deceased are used to annually calculate life expectancy and figures on probability of death by age and gender.
 

Statistical population

All persons who according to the Population Information System lived permanently in Finland on the day of their death.
 

Statistical unit

Person. In the data, each person has his/her own identification data, which are used in combining data with other individual-based data.  
 

Unit of measure

Number of persons.
In the key figures, per mil (infant mortality, probability of death, general mortality rate) or years (life expectancy).
 

Reference period

The reference period of the statistics is a calendar year.
 

Reference area

Data are available on Finland on the level of the whole country and by various regional divisions based on the division of municipalities in Finland. 
The classification into regions and the statistical grouping of municipalities have been used since 1997. The respective categories used prior to this were province and type of municipality. Since 1999, the regional division entering into force at the beginning of the year following the statistical reference year has been applied in the statistics.
 

Sector coverage

The statistics contain data on all persons who according to the Population Information System lived permanently in Finland on the day of their death. The statistical data contain population data on the deceased and their spouses, and in the case of a deceased aged 0, on the parents of the deceased person. Available population data on the persons are such as age, gender, marital status, language, nationality, country of birth, municipality of birth and municipality of residence. These data apply to the situation on the day of death.
 

Time coverage

Data on the number of deaths per year in Finland on the level of the whole country are available starting from 1749.
 

Frequency of dissemination

The final statistics on the number of deaths for a calendar year according to various background variables are completed in April of the following calendar year unless otherwise stated. Final data on life expectancy, probability of death and living persons per 100,000 births are completed in October of the next calendar year unless otherwise stated. Final statistical data on deaths are published on the web pages of Statistics Finland’s statistics on deaths. Preliminary data on the number of deaths are published monthly on Statistics Finland's preliminary population statistics pages.

Concepts

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 death rate

The age-specific death rate refers to the number of deaths per 1,000 of the mean population in the age group in question.

Deaths

Persons permanently resident in Finland on the day of their death are recorded in the statistics as deaths. Data on deaths are obtained from the Digital and Population Data Services Agency’s Population Information System. The number of deaths may differ somewhat from each other in different statistics. The difference is due to the different compilation times of the statistics. The official number of deaths in Finland is derived from the deaths in the population statistics.

General death rate

General death rate indicates the number of deaths per 1,000 or 100,000 persons of the mean population.

Increase of population

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

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.

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.

Life expectancy

The number of years that a person of a given age would live provided that the rate of mortality remains unchanged.

Perinatal mortality

Perinatal mortality refers to the number of stillbirths and those who died in their first week of life per 1,000 births.

Probability of death

The probability of death at some age x refers to the probability of a person living until the age of x to die during that year of age.

Sex

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

Accuracy, reliability and timeliness

Overall accuracy

The statistical data on deaths are total data. Data on deaths are as good as the quality of the Population Information System. For the statistics on deaths it means that all deaths of persons permanently resident in Finland on the day of their death are entered into the register.

The Population Information System maintained by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency and the State Department of Åland can be regarded as very exhaustive in terms of persons. To obtain a personal identity code, a person 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 in order to work legally, open a bank account, attend to matters with authorities, and so on.

Since the discontinuation of yearly checking of domicile registers in 1989, the Population Information System has been maintained only by notifications of population changes. The Digital and Population Data Services Agency has requested Statistics Finland to carry out sample surveys on the correctness of address data. Around 11,000 persons were asked whether their address in the Population Information System is correct. In the latest survey 2012, the address was correct for 98.9 per cent of the respondents.

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.
 

Timeliness

The data are released approximately four months after the reference period.
 

Punctuality

The data have been published almost without exception on the target date, so there has been no time lag. If the release of statistical data is significantly delayed from the announced point of time, information about the delay is posted on Statistics Finland's home page.

Comparability

Comparability - geographical

Comparisons based on numbers can be made regionally between different years when the effect of regional mergers are considered. It is common practice that the entire time series is updated to the temporally most recent regional division. When the number of deaths is proportioned to the population, the mortality in different areas can be compared. Within the country, the life expectancy data describing regional mortality rates are comparable because the effect of different age structures in the areas has been eliminated by using age standardisation.

The definitions of the statistics on deaths are in line with international recommendations, so comparison between countries is possible.
 

Comparability - over time

A quantitative comparison of deaths is possible starting from 1749, but there is a lot of temporal variation in the background variables related to deaths. Data on the number of deaths per year in Finland on the level of the whole country are available starting from 1749 and according to sex starting from 1751. The monthly number of deaths is available from 1945 onwards. The number of deaths by age is available by 5-year age groups starting from 1951 and by 1-year age groups from 1980. The number of deaths by municipality is available starting from 1951 and by municipality and 5-year age groups starting from 1975. The life expectancy at birth is available starting from 1751, and life expectancy and probability of death figures by 1-year age groups starting from 1986.
 

Coherence - cross domain

Statistics Finland’s other statistics use the data of population statistics as basic information on population. Thus, different statistics of Statistics Finland are consistent with each other as regards population data.

The figures on deaths in Statistics Finland's statistics on causes of death differ somewhat from those in the statistics on deaths, because the definition of cases included in the statistics and the waiting period for events differ slightly.

 

Coherence - internal

Preliminary data on population changes have been published from the population statistics since the 1970s. The preliminary population statistics are an important point of reference for the final statistics. The final statistics do not usually differ significantly from the preliminary statistics. On the one hand, preliminary data are sought after for monitoring development of a phenomenon, and on the other hand, society uses the data in its activities. The final statistics differ from the preliminary statistics mainly in that the data of final statistics are checked more closely than those of the preliminary statistics and the final annual statistics contain more variables to describe the phenomenon.
 

Source data and data collections

Source data

The statistical data on deaths are total data. The statistics on deaths are based on data obtained weekly from the Population Information System. The Digital and Population Data Services Agency and the State Department of Åland maintain the Population Information System by storing the data they receive on changes in the population living in the country there. Information about decisions made in the Digital and Population Data Services Agency can be added to the data.
The health care unit or the physician has to report the death to the Population Information System (Act 1065/2009). Persons declared dead have been included in deaths since 2005 when the Act (127/2005) on declaring someone legally dead made it possible in certain circumstances to considerably speed up the process of declaring someone legally dead. A petition for declaring a person legally dead can be submitted immediately after his/her disappearance if at the time of the disappearance the person was in an accident causing immediate mortal danger. A petition for declaring someone legally dead can also be submitted after a waiting period of between one and five years dependent on the situation. The date of the day when the person was last known to have been alive is regarded as the starting date of the waiting period. A petition for declaring someone legally dead must be submitted to the court in whose district the disappeared person’s last municipality of residence was located. The court concerned also makes a decision about declaring the person legally dead and about the date of death of the disappeared person. The court enters the decision about declaring the person legally dead into the Population Information System from which they become available to Statistics Finland.
 

Data collection

Since 1975, Statistics Finland has obtained population data weekly from the Population Information System maintained by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency and the State Department of Åland. The acquisition of data is based on Statistics Finland's position as a statistical authority as decreed in law. 
 

Frequency of data collection

The data for the statistics are collected annually.
 

Methods

Data compilation

The data contain background variables where missing or invalid values may occur. The data are imputed from other population data or the Population Information System. Cases are not imputed.
 

Data validation

  • The number of deaths is compared with the number of deaths in the preliminary population statistics.
  • It is checked that there are no duplicate rows in the data.
  • It is checked that the case has not appeared in the statistical data of earlier years.
  • It is checked that a person marked as deceased is not registered as a living person after the event in the data on population structure. If necessary, data on the case are examined in other population data sets and ultimately in the direct access service of the Population Information System.
  • The direct distributions of the variables are checked and it is examined if the variable values are in line with the classifications.
  • The logicality of certain variables is checked by cross-tabulation, such as that the marital status of the deceased must be logical relative to the marital status of the widowed.

Principles and outlines

Contact organisation

Statistics Finland

Contact organisation unit

Social Statistics

Legal acts and other agreements

The compilation of statistics is guided by the Statistics Act. The Statistics Act contains provisions on collection of data, processing of data and the obligation to provide data. Besides the Statistics Act, the Data Protection Act and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities are applied to processing of data when producing statistics. 

Statistics Finland compiles statistics in line with the EU’s regulations applicable to statistics, which steer the statistical agencies of all EU Member States.  

Further information: Statistical legislation 

Confidentiality - policy

The data protection of data collected for statistical purposes is guaranteed in accordance with the requirements of the Statistics Act (280/2004), the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and the Data Protection Act (1050/2018). The data materials are protected at all stages of processing with the necessary physical and technical solutions. Statistics Finland has compiled detailed directions and instructions for confidential processing of the data. Employees have access only to the data essential for their duties. The premises where unit-level data are processed are not accessible to outsiders. Members of the personnel have signed a pledge of secrecy upon entering the service. Violation of data protection is punishable. 

Further information: Data protection | Statistics Finland (stat.fi) 

Confidentiality - data treatment

In population statistics, the identification data of an individual are pseudonymised, that is, the data of a person can no longer be linked to a specific person without additional information.

In accordance with data protection practices, rules concerning less detailed data are applied when distributing data by area if the table contains variables specified as sensitive. Then figures below the threshold value are not reported or they are not divided into categories of sensitive variables.

According to the Statistics Act, data released for research use must be edited into a form from which statistical units cannot be identified directly or indirectly. In order to prevent indirect identification, the key variables in terms of identification must be edited using statistical data protection methods suitable for the situation. Releasing the sample instead of the total data is the main data protection method. In addition to sampling, Statistics Finland has used, for example, less detailed classification of variables, removal of variables or suppression of the variable values received by an individual unit as data limiting methods.
 

Release policy

Statistics Finland publishes new statistical data at 8 am on weekdays in its web service. The release times of statistics are given in advance in the release calendar available in the web service. The data are public after they have been updated in the web service. 

Further information: Publication principles for statistics at Statistics Finland 

Data sharing

Data on deaths are available in the StatFin statistical database after the release. The data are public after they have been updated on the Internet pages.

The Regulation on demographic statistics (EC) No 1260/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council defines the data and metadata to be submitted to Eurostat, responsible for compiling population statistics in the EU. The following population statistics data are supplied on deaths: age of the deceased, sex, year of birth, country of birth, nationality, marital status, area of residence according to the NUTS3 regional classification, education data and month of death. In addition, data on the parents’ education are supplied concerning infant mortality. The above-mentioned data are also delivered to the United Nations Statistical Division, the OECD and the Nordic Council.
 

Accessibility and clarity

Statistical data are published as database tables in the StatFin database. The database is the primary publishing site of data, and new data are updated first there. When releasing statistical data, existing database tables can be updated with new data or completely new database tables can be published.   

In addition to statistical data published in the StatFin database, a release on the key data is usually published in the web service. If the release contains data concerning several reference periods (e.g. monthly and annual data), a review bringing together these data is published in the web service. Database tables updated at the time of publication are listed both in the release and in the review. In some cases, statistical data can also be published as mere database releases in the StatFin database. No release or review is published in connection with these database releases. 

Releases and database tables are published in three languages, in Finnish, Swedish and English. The language versions of releases may have more limited content than in Finnish.   

Information about changes in the publication schedules of releases and database tables and about corrections are given as change releases in the web service. 

Data revision - policy

Revisions – i.e. improvements in the accuracy of statistical data already published – are a normal feature of statistical production and result in improved quality of statistics. The principle is that statistical data are based on the best available data and information concerning the statistical phenomenon. On the other hand, the revisions are communicated as transparently as possible in advance. Advance communication ensures that the users can prepare for the data revisions. 

The reason why data in statistical releases become revised is often caused by the data becoming supplemented. Then the new, revised statistical figure is based on a wider information basis and describes the phenomenon more accurately than before. 

Revisions of statistical data may also be caused by the calculation method used, such as annual benchmarking or updating of weight structures. Changes of base years and used classifications may also cause revisions to data. 

Quality assessment

Quality can be assessed by comparing annual data with published preliminary data for the statistical reference year. Comparisons are also made with data on population structure, which ensure that a living person belonging to the population has not been erroneously recorded as dead.

The Official Statistics of Finland (OSF) are a comprehensive collection of statistics describing the development and state of society. They comprise nearly 300 sets of statistics on 26 different topics. The producers of Official Statistics of Finland have approved a common quality assurance in which they commit to common quality criteria and quality assurance measures. The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice. The good practices followed in the statistics are presented in Statistics Finland's Quality Guidelines for Official Statistics handbook.

The statistics on deaths and their production process were audited in autumn 2017.
 

Quality assurance

Quality management requires comprehensive guidance of activities. The quality management framework of the field of statistics is the European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP). The frameworks complement each other. The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are also compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice. 

Further information: Quality management | Statistics Finland (stat.fi) 

User access

Data are released to all users at the same time. Statistical data may only be handled at Statistics Finland and information on them may be given before release only by persons involved in the production of the statistics concerned or who need the data of the statistics concerned in their own work before the data are published. 

Further information: Publication principles for statistics 

Unless otherwise separately stated in connection with the product, data or service concerned, Statistics Finland is the producer of the data and the owner of the copyright. The terms of use for statistical data. 

Statistical experts

Joni Rantakari
Senior Statistician
029 551 3249

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