Parliamentary elections 2007 - background information on the candidates and elected MPs

The total number of candidates in the Parliamentary elections is 2,004. Of these, 1,205 are men and 799 women. Of the major parties, the Christian Democrats and the Centre Party have the lowest proportion of women candidates (39.4 % and 43.8 %, respectively). The highest proportions of women candidates are in the Green League (52.5 %) and the Social Democrats (49.1 %). Only the Green League has more women than men candidates. A majority, or 52 per cent, of the persons entitled to vote are women.

Proportion of men and women of persons entitled to vote, candidates and elected MPs by party in Parliamentary elections 2007

Proportion of men and women of persons entitled to vote, candidates and elected MPs by party in Parliamentary elections 2007

  Men Women
Persons entitled to vote 47.9 52.1
Candidates 60.1 39.9
Others 72.6 27.4
Christian Democrats 60.6 39.4
Centre Party 56.2 43.8
Coalition Party 56.0 44.0
Swedish People's Party 54.7 45.3
Left Alliance 54.3 45.7
Social Democratic Party 50.9 49.1
Greens 47.5 52.5
Elected MPs 58.0 42.0

Forty-two per cent of the elected MPs are women, which is slightly more than the proportion of women candidates.

Women's proportion of persons entitled to vote, candidates and elected MPs by constituency in Parliamentary elections 2007

Women's proportion of persons entitled to vote, candidates and elected MPs by constituency in Parliamentary elections 2007

Constituency Proportion of women
of candidates of persons entitled to vote of elected MPs
Whole country 39.9 52.1 42.0
Pirkanmaa 44.1 51.4 27.8
North Karelia 43.5 51.3 16.7
Åland 42.9 52.4 100.0
Uusimaa 42.6 51.8 50.0
South Savo 41.7 51.5 66.7
Helsinki 40.8 55.5 61.9
Varsinais-Suomi 39.6 52.8 41.2
North Savo 39.1 50.8 30.0
Häme 39.0 52.0 42.9
Lapland 38.6 52.9 28.6
Central Finland 37.9 50.4 50.0
Satakunta 37.4 51.7 22.2
Oulu 37.2 50.9 38.9
Vaasa 36.1 51.5 41.2
Kymi 35.3 51.7 33.3

The lowest proportions of women candidates are in the constituencies of Kymi (35.3 %) and Vaasa (36.1 %). The highest number of women candidates is in the constituency of Pirkanmaa (44.1 %). In the constituencies of Vaasa, Oulu and Satakunta, the proportion of women candidates ranges between 36 and 37 per cent.

The majority of persons entitled to vote are women in all constituencies. The strongest majority is in the constituency of Helsinki, where 56 % of the persons entitled to vote are women. However, only 41 % of the candidates are women. The weakest women majority, 50 per cent, is in the constituency of Central Finland.

The proportions of women of all persons entitled to vote has been influenced by migration in the past years, which has continuously brought slightly more women than men into areas with migration gain. The proportion of men has grown in areas with migration loss. The difference between the population structure and the candidate structure, or the under-representation of women, is greatest in the constituency of Kymi, where 35 % of the candidates, but 52 % of the persons entitled to vote, are women. The smallest difference, 7 percentage points, is in the constituency of Pirkanmaa.

Women make up 42 per cent of all elected MPs. More women than men were elected in two constituencies, namely South Savo (67 per cent) and Helsinki (62 per cent). In Uusimaa and Central Finland 50 per cent of the elected MPs are women. Women's proportion is lowest in Satakunta (22 per cent), Pirkanmaa (28 per cent) and Lapland (29 per cent).

Foreign backround

Only 2  per  cent of the candidates have a foreign background. Six per cent of the persons entitled to vote have a foreign background. Persons whose mother tongue is not Finnish, Swedish or Sami are regarded as having a foreign background. The Christian Democrats nominated the highest proportion of candidates with a foreign background (3.2 %) and the Coalition Party the lowest (0.4 %).

No candidates with a foreign background were elected into Parliament.

Persons entitled to vote and candidates with a foreign background in Parliamentary elections 2007

Average age

The average age of both men and women candidates has gone up slightly, 0.2 years for both, from the previous elections. The average age of men candidates is now 48.1 years and that of women candidates 43.8.

Candidates by gender mean age in Parliamentary elections 2007

Constituency Men Women
Whole country 48.1 43.8
Oulu 49.9 43.2
Lapland 49.7 48.2
Pirkanmaa 49.3 45.2
North Karelia 49.0 40.3
Åland 48.8 50.7
Kymi 48.6 44.2
Central Finland 48.3 42.4
South Savo 48.2 38.2
North Savo 48.1 41.4
Uusimaa 47.9 43.7
Helsinki 47.6 45.4
Häme 47.4 45.9
Satakunta 47.2 42.0
Varsinais-Suomi 47.2 43.4
Vaasa 47.1 42.2

Candidates by gender mean age in Parliamentary elections 2007

The average age of men entitled to vote is 47.5 years and that of women 50.3 years. Men candidates are roughly the same age as the men entitled to vote, but women candidates are nearly seven years younger than women entitled to vote.

Clearly the youngest women candidates are nominated in South Savo, where the average age is 38.2 years. In the constituency of North Karelia their average age is 40.3 years. The youngest men candidates are nominated in Vaasa (47.1 years) and Varsinais-Suomi (47.2 years). The oldest men candidates are nominated in Oulu (49.9 years) and Lapland (49.7 years). The oldest women candidates are nominated in Åland (50.7 years) and Lapland (48.2 years). The largest age difference between men and women candidates (10 years) is in North Savo and the smallest in Helsinki and Lapland (1.5 years).

The average age of elected MPs is 47.9 years. The average age of re-elected MPs is slightly higher at 50.4 years than that of new MPs, whose average age is 43.8 years.

Age structure of persons entitled to vote, candidates and elected MPs in Parliamentary elections 2007

Age structure of persons entitled to vote, candidates and elected in Parliamentary elections 2007

  -29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60+
Persons entitled to vote 18.4 15.2 17.7 19.3 29.3
Candidates 14.4 16.1 23.6 28.5 17.4
Greens 20.3 28.7 28.7 15.3 6.9
Swedish People's Party 21.3 17.3 29.3 13.3 18.7
Left Alliance 18.8 15.4 21.2 36.5 8.2
Social Democratic Party 12.6 20.4 25.2 30.4 11.3
Centre Party 12.9 15.9 30.0 30.9 10.3
Christian Democrats 9.6 18.6 26.1 30.9 14.9
Coalition Party 11.6 15.6 37.8 25.3 9.8
Others 14.0 11.0 13.2 29.2 32.5
Re-elected MPs 0.0 15.4 27.6 37.4 19.5
New MPs 2.6 33.8 35.1 19.5 9.1

The Green League has the highest proportion, nearly one half, of candidates younger than 40 years of age. The proportion of candidates younger than 40 years of age is higher than their proportion of the persons entitled to vote also in the Swedish People's Party and the Left Alliance. The lowest proportions of young candidates are nominated by the Christian Democrats and the Coalition Party. The Coalition Party has the highest proportion of candidates aged 40 to 49, the Left Alliance, the Centre Party and the Christian Democrats have the highest proportion of candidates aged 50 to 59. Persons over 60 years of age are under-represented in all parties. Only in small parties the proportion of candidates over 60 years of age is slightly higher than their proportion of all voters.

Over one-half of the re-elected candidates are over 50 years of age, while 72 per cent of the new MPs are younger than 50 of age.

Employment

Persons entitled to vote, candidates and elected MPs by main type of activity in Parliamentary elections 2007

Just over one half, or 51.6 % of all persons entitled to vote are employed, seven per cent are unemployed, eight per cent are students, and 25 per cent pensioners. The proportions of candidates who are employed are the following in the three major parties: the Social Democrats and the Coalition Party 92 per cent and the Centre Party 89 per cent. The Social Democrats, the Coalition Party and the Centre Party have virtually no unemployed candidates. The major parties nominated only 6 to 7 per cent student and pensioner candidates. The proportion of student candidates is highest among the Green League and the Swedish People's Party.

Since the last elections, the proportion of the employed has gone up by a few percentage points and correspondingly the proportions of the unemployed, students and pensioners have gone down from their already low levels. The candidates differ most from the persons entitled to vote in that the proportions of the employed are higher 20 percentage points and pensioners are lower 15 percentage points.

Persons entitled to vote, candidates and elected MPs by main type of activity in Parliamentary elections 2007

  Employed Unemployed Student Pensioner Others
Persons entitled to vote 51.6 6.6 8.0 25.0 8.7
Candidates 71.7 7.0 7.6 10.4 3.3
Social Democratic Party 91.7 0.9 3.5 2.6 1.3
Coalition Party 91.6 0.4 3.1 3.6 1.3
Centre Party 89.3 2.1 6.0 0.9 1.7
Left Alliance 79.3 6.3 9.6 2.4 2.4
Christian Democrats 79.3 5.9 6.9 4.8 3.2
Greens 74.8 7.4 13.4 1.5 3.0
Swedish People's Party 73.3 4.0 12.0 9.3 1.3
Others 45.3 14.0 8.4 26.3 6.1
Elected MPs 94.0 0.5 3.5 1.5 0.5

Nearly all elected MPs, or 94 per cent, are employed. Of the elected MPs, 3.5 per cent were students and 1.5 pensioners.

Type of family

Persons entitled to vote, candidates and elected MPs by family type in Parliamentary elections 2007

Slightly less than one half (49 %) of all persons entitled to vote are married, 13.8 per cent are cohabiting and 30.5 per cent do not belong to a family. 57.4 per cent of the candidates are married, 11 per cent are cohabiting and 24.6 per cent do not belong to a family. In both groups, 7 per cent are single parents.

Christian Democrat candidates differ most from the voters: 83 per cent are married, and none are cohabiting. The Green League and the Left Alliance have the lowest proportions of married persons (38 % and 36 %, respectively) but the proportion of cohabiting couples is the highest, 15 to 19 per cent.

Of all candidates, one fourth does not belong to a family (they usually live alone). The highest proportion, 22 per cent, is nominated by the Green League. The number of persons not belonging to a family of all persons entitled to vote has gone up by five and their number of candidates by three percentage points. Widowed persons living alone, for example, do not belong to a family and their proportion grows continuously as a consequence of population ageing.

Persons entitled to vote, candidates and elected MPs by family type in Parliamentary elections 2007

  Married couple+children Married couple w/o children Single parent+children Cohabiting couple Not belonging to families
Persons entitled to vote 27.9 21.1 6.8 13.8 30.5
Candidates 38.9 18.5 7.0 11.0 24.6
Christian Democrats 63.3 19.7 2.1 0.0 14.9
Coalition Party 52.9 15.1 5.3 8.4 18.2
Centre Party 49.4 16.7 9.4 6.0 18.5
Social Democratic Party 47.8 20.4 6.1 10.0 15.7
Swedish People's Party 45.3 18.7 6.7 13.3 16.0
Greens 38.1 13.9 10.9 15.3 21.8
Left Alliance 35.6 17.3 8.2 18.8 20.2
Others 20.4 21.0 7.0 13.2 38.4
Elected MPs 46.5 23.5 5.5 5.5 19.0

The majority of the major party candidates are married: 66 per cent of Centre Party candidates, 68 per cent of Coalition Party candidates and of Social Democrats candidates. The Social Democrats have the greatest proportion of cohabiting candidates (10 %). The proportion of families consisting of married spouses and children has declined in all parties, whereas the proportion of cohabitation households has increased, as has the proportion of persons living alone.

Of the elected MPs, 70 per cent are married and 6 per cent are cohabiting, single parents make up 6 per cent and 19 per cent are singles.

Persons entitled to vote, candidates and elected MPs by number of children in 2007

More than one half of the major party candidates live with their legal or cohabiting spouse as well as their children. 38 per cent of the persons entitled to vote - but only 28 per cent of the candidates - do not have children of their own. The practicalities of family life with children are more often familiar to candidates than to the population on average. The proportion of candidates who do not have children of their own is on average greater in parties such as the Green League, which have a large proportion of young candidates. The Social Democrats have the lowest proportion of candidates without children (only 21 per cent).

Persons entitled to vote, candidates and elected MPs by number of biological children in Parliamentary elections 2007

Persons entitled to vote, candidates and elected MPs by number of biological children in Parliamentary elections 2007

  1 2 3 4+ 0
Persons entitled to vote 15.4 26.3 13.4 7.3 37.7
Candidates 13.7 27.3 18.7 12.3 28.0
Social Democratic Party 15.2 33.9 23.5 6.5 20.9
Coalition Party 8.9 37.8 17.3 13.3 22.7
Christian Democrats 6.4 18.6 24.5 27.7 22.9
Centre Party 14.6 26.6 19.7 15.5 23.6
Left Alliance 15.9 34.1 16.3 6.7 26.9
Others 16.5 23.6 16.6 11.0 32.2
Swedish People's Party 8.0 21.3 18.7 18.7 33.3
Greens 13.9 23.8 16.8 7.4 38.1
Elected MPs 19.0 36.5 14.0 11.0 19.5

Eighty per cent of the elected MPs have biological children, a fifth do not have children of their own. Of persons entitled to vote, 62 per cent have children of their own. Large families are also more common to the elected MPs: 11 per cent have a family with four or more children.

Persons entitled to vote, candidates and elected MPs by educational level in 2007

Highly educated people are seeking entry to the Parliament. The educational level of the candidates of almost all parties is higher than that of the average population. Of the total population, 38 per cent rely on basic level education, but this is the case only for 15 per cent of the candidates. Of the candidates nominated by the major parties even fewer rely on basic level education: 5 % for the Green League, 8 % for the Christian Democrats, 11 % for the Social Democrats and 12 % for the Centre Party. More than one half of the candidates are educated to the tertiary level, but only one fourth of those entitled to vote have attained that level. One third of the candidates nominated by the Social Democrats have a basic or secondary level education. Of the candidates nominated by the Green League, 73 % are educated to the tertiary level.

Persons entitled to vote, candidates and elected MPs by educational level in Parliamentary elections 2007

Persons entitled to vote, candidates and elected MPs by educational level in Parliamentary elections 2007

  Basic level Secondary level Lowest level of tertiary level Lower university degree Higher university degree
Persons entitled to vote 38.4 37.1 11.6 6.3 6.7
Candidates 15.0 33.4 13.5 9.8 28.3
Greens 5.3 21.8 14.7 8.9 49.3
Left Alliance 5.3 28.0 6.7 14.7 45.3
Christian Democrats 5.9 30.7 9.9 12.4 41.1
Swedish People's Party 8.3 40.4 10.4 10.4 30.4
Coalition Party 9.0 24.0 20.6 11.2 35.2
Social Democratic Party 11.2 24.5 18.1 11.2 35.1
Centre Party 12.0 47.1 11.1 11.5 18.3
Others 29.1 38.1 12.9 7.0 12.9
Elected MPs 4.0 18.5 11.0 12.0 54.5

Persons with the highest education were elected: 67 per cent of the elected MPs had a university degree, while this is so for 38 per cent of the candidates and for just 13 per cent of persons entitled to vote. Only 4 per cent of MPs rely on a basic level of education.

Persons entitled to vote, candidates and elected MPs by taxable income in Parliamentary elections 2007

Income is the one variable that marks the greatest difference between candidates and voters. The 2003 taxable income of the candidates averaged EUR 34,200 - 74 per cent higher than the average income of the voters. The 2007 income of the candidates was EUR 38,000 - 80 per cent higher than the income of the voters.

The average income of a voter was EUR 21,000. The EUR 70,000 average income of Coalition Party candidates was three times that of the voters. A Swedish People's Party candidate's average income was EUR 65,000, Centre Party candidates earned on average EUR 52,000 and Social Democrat candidates EUR 47,000. Green League candidates had the lowest average income, EUR 29,000.

Persons entitled to vote, candidates and elected MPs by average income (in euro) in Parliamentary elections in 2007, 2003, 1999 and 1995

Persons entitled to vote, candidates and elected MPs by average income (in euro) in Parliamentary elections in 2007, 2003, 1999 and 1995

  2007 2003 1999 1995 Change%
1995-2007
Change%
2003-2007
Persons entitled to vote 21 037 19 675 15 638 14 397 46.1 106.9
Candidates 37 749 34 197 27 186 25 066 50.6 110.4
Coalition Party 69 987 64 374 43 301 37 886 84.7 108.7
Swedish People's Party 64 558 43 148 35 538 41 110 57.0 149.6
Centre Party 52 128 56 259 35 295 35 028 48.8 92.7
Social Democratic Party 47 072 40 209 37 401 33 741 39.5 117.1
Christian Democrats 34 755 29 410 24 677 23 613 47.2 118.2
Left Alliance 32 024 28 514 26 530 23 621 35.6 112.3
Greens 28 946 27 788 23 184 21 322 35.8 104.2
Re-elected MPs 92 711  
New MPs 87 049  
Elected MPs total 90 531  

Voters' nominal income has increased by 7 per cent during the present parliamentary period and that of candidates has increased by 10 per cent. The Swedish People's Party candidates have the largest increase in income, 50 per cent. The Christian Democrat candidates' income increased by 18 %, but the income of the Centre Party's present candidates are 7 per cent lower than those of the candidates in the previous elections.

High income earners were elected to the Parliament. The average income of elected MPs was EUR 90,500. The average income of elected MPs was 2.4 times that of the candidates and nearly 4.3 times that of the voters. The average income of re-elected MPs was EUR 6,000 higher than that of new MPs.

The income level of voters is the highest in the constituencies of Helsinki, Uusimaa and Åland. The candidates with the highest income are from Åland and Uusimaa.

Average income (EUR) of persons entitled to vote, candidates and elected MPs by constituency in Parliamentary elections 2007

Average income (EUR) of persons entitled to vote, candidates and elected MPs by constituency in Parliamentary elections 2007

Constituency Persons entitled to vote Candidates Elected MPs
Whole country 21 037 37 749 90 531
Åland 22 626 55 090 -
Uusimaa 26 150 47 619 152 257
Kymi 19 846 39 811 103 405
Vaasa 18 311 38 708 68 480
Helsinki 25 138 38 540 79 952
South Savo 17 986 38 388 68 923
North Karelia 17 481 37 115 93 729
North Savo 18 543 36 426 70 296
Oulu 18 895 35 795 76 343
Varsinais-Suomi 20 864 35 091 67 811
Satakunta 19 326 33 997 86 821
Pirkanmaa 20 466 33 824 78 359
Lapland 16 915 33 622 69 670
Häme 20 119 31 930 85 923
Central Finland 18 779 29 938 66 809

The candidates' income level reflects the regional variations in voters' income levels, albeit on a higher level. The candidates with the highest income level are nominated in Åland (EUR 55,000) and Uusimaa (EUR 47,600). The average income of candidates from Åland is 2.4 times and that of candidates from Uusimaa is 1.8 times higher than that of the voters in these constituencies. The income level of candidates is also over twice that of the voters in the constituencies of Kymi, Vaasa, South Savo and North Karelia The poorest voters are in Lapland, South Savo and North Karelia, where their average income is less than EUR 18,000. The candidates with the lowest income, EUR 30,000, are nominated in the constituency of Central Finland.

The income of candidates is approximately 80 per cent higher than that of voters in all constituencies. The income of elected MPs is roughly 2.4 times that of candidates. The highest average income among the elected MPs, EUR 152,000, was in Uusimaa, and the second highest average income of EUR 103,000 was in the constituency of Kymi. MPs elected from Central Finland had the lowest income at EUR 67,000. The average income of an MP from Uusimaa is nearly six times higher than that of the voters in the constituency. In Central Finland it is 3.5 times higher. MPs elected from Varsinais-Suomi, Lapland and North Savo also have a lower than average income.

Income brackets

The majority of Coalition Party and Centre Party candidates have an income of over EUR 42,000. The EUR 42,000 limit is exceeded by 57 % of the Coalition Party candidates, 53 % of the Centre Party candidates, 44 % of the Social Democrat candidates and 43 % of the candidates of the Swedish Peoples' Party. Only 9 per cent of voters earn over EUR 42,000. During the present parliamentary period, the number of persons with an income in excess of EUR 42,000 has increased, particularly among Coalition Party and Centre Party candidates.

The proportion of low-income candidates is highest among the candidates of the Green League, the Left Alliance and the Christian Democrats. The income structure of small parties' candidates resembles the voters' average income structure much more closely than that of the major parties' candidates.

Persons entitled to vote and candidates by taxable income (in euro) in Parliamentary elections 2007

Persons entitled to vote and candidates by taxable income (in euro) in Parliamentary elections 2007

  -8,999 -16,999 -26,999 -31,999 -41,999 42,000+
Persons entitled to vote 28.2 22.2 23.9 8.4 8.8 8.5
Candidates 17.1 14.3 16.3 8.3 14.7 29.4
Coalition Party 5.3 7.6 9.3 7.6 13.3 56.9
Centre Party 10.3 8.6 7.3 6.9 14.2 52.8
Social Democratic Party 5.2 7.0 15.7 7.0 20.9 44.3
Swedish People's Party 14.7 5.3 10.7 6.7 20.0 42.7
Greens 17.8 20.3 15.3 6.4 15.8 24.3
Left Alliance 16.8 8.7 18.3 12.5 19.7 24.0
Christian Democrats 14.9 10.1 22.9 5.3 24.5 22.3
Others 28.8 23.5 20.5 9.8 7.6 9.8
Elected MPs 0.5 4.5 5.0 2.5 6.0 81.5

Nearly all elected MPs, or 82 per cent, earned more than EUR 42,000. Only 9 per cent of the voters and 29 per cent of candidates belong to this class.


Last updated 21.3.2007

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Parliamentary elections [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-6279. 2007, Parliamentary elections 2007 - background information on the candidates and elected MPs . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 19.10.2017].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/evaa/2007/evaa_2007_2007-03-22_kat_001_en.html

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