4. Types of families with underage children vary by region

4.1 In Åland, Kainuu and Lapland relatively most cohabiting families

The commonest type of family with children in all regions is one of a married couple although there are also clear differences in this. The differences arise from the prevalence of families of cohabiting couples and one-parent families in the regions. In relative numbers, most cohabiting couples are found in Åland, Kainuu and Lapland. In Åland, 30 per cent and in Kainuu and Lapland, 23 per cent of all families with underage children are families of cohabiting couples. The lowest share of cohabiting families in Finland is found in Central Ostrobothnia, 16 per cent.

Figur 7. Families of cohabiting couples as a proportions of families with underage children by region in 2012

Figur 7. Families of cohabiting couples as a proportions of families with underage children by region in 2012

When examining the prevalence of cohabiting couples by municipality, the municipalities of Åland are in the lead. Among municipalities in Mainland Finland, Savukoski holds the lead with 36 per cent of families with underage children cohabiting. In Närpiö and Suomussalmi the respective proportion is 32 per cent and in Luhanka 31 per cent. The municipality in Mainland Finland with the lowest share of six per cent of families of cohabiting couples with children is Luoto.

4.2 Regional differences in the commonness of one-parent families

There is also clear regional variation in the prevalence of one-parent families. In the figures for the regions, the Ostrobothnian regions differ from other regions in favour of the conventional family (Figure 8). The number of one-parent families is lowest there. The number of one-parent families is highest in Päijät-Häme (22.8%) and Uusimaa (22.6%). Lahti puts the share up for Päijät-Häme and Helsinki for Uusimaa.

Figure 8. Proportion of single-parent families of all families with underage children by region in 2012

Figure 8. Proportion of single-parent families of all families with underage children by region in 2012

The regional variation in the proportion of one-parent families with children is due to the different proportions in families of the type mother and children. The proportion of families of the type father and children ranges from two to three per cent in nearly all regions. In South Karelia and Kainuu, the share of families with a father and children is 3.5 per cent and in Åland four per cent.

Examined by municipality in Mainland Finland, the proportions of one-parent families with children are the highest in Helsinki and Hartola (28%), and in Turku and Kemi (28%). Åland has the highest figures in the whole of Finland (Sottunga 40%, Kökar 35% and Mariehamn 28%) but in the case of Sottunga and Kökar it should be borne in mind that in such small municipalities the difference of just a couple of family types can alter the percentage share considerably.

In Mainland Finland, the lowest relative proportions of one-parent families can be found in Luoto and Pedesröre (5%), and in Åland in Vårdö (7%)..

Luoto could be viewed as the most conventional municipality in terms of family structure, because it has the lowest proportion of one-parent families with children and the highest proportion of married couples in the whole country. Luoto also has the seventh highest average number of 2.68 of underage children living at home per family. Higher figures are reached in Lumijoki (2.90), Sievi (2.85) and Perho (2.85). The average for the whole country is 1.83.

The most common marital status of the fathers and mothers of one-parent families with children is divorced, this being so for 52 per cent of the fathers and 44 per cent of the mothers. Only five per cent of the fathers and three per cent of the mothers are widowed. Dissolved cohabiting partnerships have increased the numbers of unmarried mothers or fathers of one-parent families with underage children. As many as 41 per cent of the mothers of mother and children families and 28 per cent of the fathers of father and children families are unmarried (Table 3, Chapter 1).


Source: Population and Cause of Death Statistics, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Marjut Pietiläinen 09 1734 2798, Timo Nikander 09 1734 3250, vaesto.tilasto@stat.fi

Director in charge: Riitta Harala


Updated 13.1.2014

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Families [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-3231. Annual Review 2012, 4. Types of families with underage children vary by region . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 15.11.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/perh/2012/02/perh_2012_02_2013-11-22_kat_004_en.html