Origin and background country
During 2012, Statistics Finland has adopted a new origin classification. A similar classification is already used in the other Nordic countries. The origin and background country are determined based on the country of birth data of the person's parents. Using the origin classification it is easy to distinguish between persons born abroad and born in Finland with a foreign background.
Data on persons that died before 1964 have not been entered into the Population Information System of the Population Register Centre. There are nearly 900,000 persons among the Finnish population who have been born in Finland and both parent's country of birth is unknown because the parents of these persons have died before the Population Information System was established. People born in Finland before 1970, whose parents' background is not known, have been concluded to be persons with Finnish background if their native language is a national language (Finnish, Swedish, Sami). All such persons who have at least one parent who was born in Finland are also considered to be persons with Finnish background. The background country for all persons with Finnish background is Finland.
Persons whose both parents or the only known parent have been born abroad are considered to be persons with foreign background. Persons who have been born abroad and whose parents' data are not included in the Population Information System are also considered to be persons with foreign background. Persons born in Finland before 1970, whose native language is a foreign language have been considered to be persons with foreign background, as have persons born in Finland in 1970 or after this, whose parents' data are not included in the Population Information System.
If both parents of a person have been born abroad, the background country is primarily the country of birth of the biological mother. If a person only has knowledge of a father that was born abroad, the background country is the country of birth of the father. If either parent's country of birth is unknown, the background country for persons born abroad is their own country of birth. For persons born in Finland, whose parents' data are unknown and who have been deducted to be with foreign background, the background country is unknown.
For children adopted from abroad, the adoptive parents are regarded as the biological parents. Thus a child adopted from abroad by persons born in Finland is a person with Finnish background and their background country is Finland.
Validity of the definition