Published: 28 May 2015

There are 1.5 million families

According to Statistics Finland's data, there were 1,474,000 families in Finland at the end of 2014. The number had grown by 2,600 families from the previous year. Even though the number of all families has grown slightly, the number of families with underage children has decreased. This mainly indicates that the age group of children coming of age is larger than the new age groups being born. There were 574,000 families with underage children. A family with underage children has at least one child under the age of 18 living at home. All in all, the changes in the numbers of families are very small on an annual level.

Families by type in 1992–2014

Families by type in 1992–2014

The family size shrinks steadily

The average size of a family was 2.8. As late as in 1990, the average size was three persons. Altogether 75 per cent of the Finnish population, or 4,084,000 persons, belonged to a family. The share of persons who belong to a family has been falling steadily. As late as in 1990, their share of the population was still 82 per cent.

Sixty-five per cent of all families were families of married couples. Twenty-three per cent were families of cohabiting couples and 12 per cent were one-parent families. There were slightly over 2,000 families of registered same-sex couples. The number of families with married spouses and children has decreased by close on five thousand families. People living alone numbered 1,098,000.

Number of families with children is falling further

The number of families with underage children, 574,000, decreased by 2,100 families from the year before. The number has been falling slowly over the past ten years. Forty per cent of the population belong to a family with children. The commonest family type, which 60 per cent of the families with children belong to, continued to be a married couple with children. Nineteen per cent of the families with children were families of cohabiting couples. There were almost equally many families of a mother and children, whose share was 18 per cent. The number of families with a father and children continued to be very low, under three per cent. In slightly over 500 families with children, the parents were a registered same-sex couple. Many factors have an effect on the number of families with children, such as the sizes of age groups being born and those turning 18, as well as international migration.

In 2014, there were a total of 1,056,000 underage children in families with children. Forty-three per cent had one child and 38 per cent had two children. Thirteen per cent of families with underage children had three children and five per cent at least four children aged under 18. The average number of children was 1.84. The figure has remained stable, although the number of children has declined. The family statistics describe the size of families in Finland at a given moment and thus do not concern with the eventual number of children in families.

Reconstituted families have 109,000 children

On average, reconstituted families have slightly more children than families with children in general. The average number of children was 2.09. Around 60 per cent of the children were brought into the family by their mother. The share has remained at the same level for a quarter century. A reconstituted family is a family with at least one child aged under 18 of just one of the parents.

At the end of 2014, there were 52,000 reconstituted families. The number of reconstituted families decreased slightly compared to the previous year. Roughly one-half of the parents of the reconstituted families were cohabiting and one-half were married.

Families by type in 1990–2014

Type of family      1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2012 2013 2014 Change    2013–2014
Families total 1 365 341 1 382 970 1 401 963 1 426 002 1 455 073 1 465 733 1 471 085 1 473 666 2 581
Married couple without children 364 452 395 953 436 019 481 209 513 889 523 221 525 933 527 238 1 305
Married couple with children 640 062 579 578 514 868 468 266 446 433 439 194 434 571 429 811 -4 760
Cohabiting couple no children 123 471 135 996 160 132 180 590 195 967 203 334 208 264 211 673 3 409
Cohabiting couple with children 65 896 85 309 102 581 112 847 117 254 118 136 120 040 121 499 1 459
Mother and children 147 297 159 063 159 432 153 024 149 651 149 143 149 110 149 668 558
Father and children 24 161 27 071 28 931 29 238 30 278 30 714 30 955 31 342 387
Registered male couple 1) .. .. .. 398 706 829 905 991 86
Registered female couple 1) .. .. .. 430 895 1 162 1 307 1 444 137
Family population 4 101 922 4 093 038 4 053 850 4 037 753 4 065 168 4 075 094 4 081 903 4 084 001 2 098
Population 31.12. 4 998 478 5 116 829 5 181 115 5 255 580 5 375 276 5 426 674 5 451 270 5 471 753 20 483
Proportion of family population 82,1 80,0 78,2 76,8 75,6 75,1 74,9 74,6 -0,3
Averige size of family 3,00 2,96 2,89 2,83 2,79 2,78 2,77 2,77 0,0
1) Families of the type “registered couple with children” numbered 550.

Source: Population and Justice Statistics, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Marjut Pietiläinen 029 551 2798, Timo Nikander 029 551 3250, info@stat.fi

Director in charge: Riitta Harala

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Updated 28.5.2015

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Families [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-3231. 2014. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 24.10.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/perh/2014/perh_2014_2015-05-28_tie_001_en.html