Quality description, naturalized foreigners

1. Relevance of statistical information

The main source used when producing Finnish population statistics is the Popula-tion Information System of the Population Register Centre. Changes in the data on the vital events of the resident population are updated into the Population Informa-tion System continuously by local population register authorities. From 1975 Sta-tistics Finland has obtained population data from the Population Register Centre.

The last population registration was carried out in Finland on 1 January 1989. After that the Population Information System has been updated by notifications of changes. The data stored in the Population Information System are specified in the act on Population Information System and the certicate services of the Population Register Centre (21 August 2009/661). Notifications on population changes for the past year are expected by the last day of January of the following year.

Statistics Finland’s function is to compile statistics on conditions in society (Statis-tics Finland Act of 24 January 1992/48). These also include demographic statistics. Statistics Finland’s Rules of Procedure defines the Population Statistics unit as the producer of demographic statistics (Statistics Finland’s Rules of Procedure, TK-00-1469-10).

In accordance with the Act on the Municipality of Domicile, the municipality of domicile and the place of residence of individuals are recorded in the Population Information System. The municipality in which a person lives or the one construed by the inhabitant as the municipality of domicile on the grounds of residence, family ties, livelihood or other equivalent circumstances, or to which the inhabitant has close links due to the aforementioned circumstances is deemed the municipality of domicile. (Act on the Municipality of Domicile, 201/1994.) The population registered in the Population Information System is divided into those present and those absent. Those present are permanent residents of Finland, either Finnish nationals or aliens. Those absent are Finnish nationals who when emigrating from the country have reported that they intend to be absent from Finland for more than one year, with the exception of Finnish nationals who are diplomats and those working in development co-operation (Act on the Municipality of Domicile, 201/1994.) Only changes in the population resident in Finland on 31 December are taken into account when compiling statistics on vital events. Persons moving to Finland from abroad are classified in the population statistics if the place of residence they have declared as their municipality of domicile is later confirmed as their place of residence.


Citizenship refers to a person's legal nationality in a certain country. Citizenship is usually determined at birth, but it may be changed upon moving to live in another country. A person may also be a citizen of more than one country (see Nationality Act, 359/2003). Persons with both Finnish and foreign citizenship will be entered in the statistics as Finnish nationals. If a foreign national living in Finland has several nationalities, that person will be entered in the statistics as a national of the country on whose passport he or she arrived in the country. Persons having received Finnish nationality by both proceedings initiated upon petition and by declaration procedure are included in statistics on recipients of Finnish nationality.

The Population Register Centre has adopted the ISO 3166 standard in its nationality classification.

2. Methodological description of survey

The main source used when producing Finnish population statistics is the Population Information System of the Population Information Centre. Local register office updates a Population Information System with information it gets from persons experiencing vital events and parishes of the Evangelical-Lutheran and Greek Orthodox churches. Hospitals send information of births in machine-language format to maintenance of Population Information System. Local courts take information of decisions of adoptions and divorces dealt in the court into the Population Information System. The Finnish Immigration Service decide about the granting of Finnish citizenships (the Nationality Act 359/2003) and enters data about the decisions into the Population Information System. Statistics Finland receives the updated data on vital events in machine-language format on a weekly basis.

The deadline for delivering data to Statistics Finland on vital events in the statistical year is the end of January of the following year. The exception to this is the data on stillbirths, which were expected by the end of August. Data on population changes in statistical year delivered to Statistics Finland after this date are included in the data of the following year.

3. Correctness and accuracy of data

In general, the Population Information System of the Population Register Centre can be considered very exhaustive as regards persons. In order that a person obtains a personal identity code, he or she 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 so that one can work legally, open a bank account, have dealings with authorities and so on. It can be safely assumed that Finland cannot have any substantial numbers of ’moonlighters’ who receive their pay in cash for periods of over one year, for example. Staying in Finland for at least one year is the prerequisite for registering into the population of Finland.

After abolishment of yearly checking of domicile registers (January 1) in 1989 the Population Information System has been maintained only by notifications of changes to population information. Their correctness is determined by a reliability survey made on the addresses in the Population Information System.

The Population Register Centre charges Statistics Finland with the task of conducting yearly a sample survey on correctness of address information. Around 11,000 people are asked whether their address in the Population Information System is correct. In the 2009 survey, the address was correct for 99.2 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. The Population Register Centre removes them from the resident population in the Population Information System before the following turn of the year.

4. Timeliness and promptness of published data

Final vital statistics are published yearly in May to June, except for those on stillbirths, which are released in September. Since 1999 the regional division used has been that of the first day of the following year. Thus the municipalities that unite on the first day of the new year are already combined in the statistics on the last day of the previous year. Information on the vital statistics of the united municipalities before the unification is available from 2003 onwards.

5. Accessibility and transparency/clarity of data

Basic population data are available in electronic form by municipality or with larger regional divisions than municipality in Statistics Finland’s free Statistical Database on the internet.

The chargeable information service contains more specified information about the population by sub-area of municipality, for example.

The Altika statistical service also includes municipality-specific population data from 1975 onwards.

6. Comparability of statistics

Comparable regional vital statistics series are available from 1987. The tables always indicate which regional division is used.

Compilation of statistics on immigrants based on lists of passports began in 1900 and continued until 1984. From 1945 there are data on the total volume of migration between Finland and foreign countries derived from statistical materials of other countries. The migration statistics between the Nordic Countries improved in 1969, when the so-called Inter-Nordic Migration Form was introduced. Production of statistics on migration outside the Nordic Countries improved further in 1985, when the obligation to notify was extended to emigrants.

Population data by municipality are available in electronic form in the Altika information service from 1975 onwards. The population time series in the free “Väestö” online service begin from the year 1980 or 1987. Vital statistics time series for the whole country is available from 1749.

7. Coherence and consistency/uniformity

Statistics Finland’s other statistics use the data of demographic statistics as basic information on population. Consequently, Statistics Finland’s other statistics correspond to demographic statistics.

Source: Population and Cause of Death Statistics. Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Matti Saari (09) 1734 3401, vaesto.tilasto@stat.fi

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

Updated 10.5.2011

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Citizenships granted [e-publication].
ISSN=1797-7169. 2010, Quality description, naturalized foreigners . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 2.3.2015].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/kans/2010/kans_2010_2011-05-10_laa_001_en.html