Published: 26 May 2017

Number of families grows more slowly than earlier

According to Statistics Finland's data, there were 1,476,000 families in Finland at the end of 2016. Although the number of families has been growing all the time, the annual growth in the number has diminished considerably since 2013. From 2004 to 2013, the number of families grew by an average of 5,500 families per year. In 2016, the number of families went up by just 200.

Families by type in 1992–2016

Families by type in 1992–2016
1) Including registered partnerships from 2002 on.

Number of families with a married couple and children continues to fall

Sixty-four per cent of all families were families of married couples. The number of families with a married couple and children has fallen by 6,200 from the previous year and that of cohabiting couples without any common children by 200. The numbers of other family types have, however, grown that much that the number of all families grew slightly.

Twenty-three per cent were still families of cohabiting couples and 12 per cent were one-parent families as in the previous year. There were 2,700 families of registered same-sex couples. People living alone numbered 1,131,000, in the previous year 19,100 fewer.

The average size of a family was 2.8. As late as in 1990, the average size of a family was three persons. Seventy-four per cent of the population, or 4,073,000 persons, belonged to a family, which is 8,000 fewer than in the year before. 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.

Fewer families with underage children than before

Even though the number of all families has still grown, the number of families with underage children has constantly decreased. This mainly indicates that the age group of children coming of age is larger than the new age groups being born. The number of families with underage children fell from the previous year by 1,800 families to 570,000. This number has fallen over the past ten years by an average of 2,000 families per year. A family with underage children has at least one child under the age of 18.

A total of 39 per cent of the population belonged to a family with children. The commonest family type continued to be a married couple with children, 59 per cent of families with children. Twenty 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 19 per cent. The number of families with a father and children continued to be very low, three per cent. In 700 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.

There were a total of 1,051,000 underage children in families with children, 2,200 down from the previous year. Of them, 43 per cent had one child, 39 per cent two children and 13 per cent three children. Five per cent of families with children had at least four children aged under 18. The average number of children was 1.85. The figure has remained stable, although the number of children has declined.

As a result of the falling number of children born in the past few years, the number of families with children aged under three has also fallen. The number of such families was 149,000, having been 153,000 in the year before. From 2011, the number has fallen by around 11,000.

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.

Nearly every tenth family with children is a reconstituted family

At the end of 2016, there were 52,000 reconstituted families. The number of reconstituted families went down by 600 from the previous year. The share of reconstituted families in families with underage children has remained at nine per cent since 2004. Roughly one-half of the parents of reconstituted families were cohabiting and one-half were married.

On average, reconstituted families have slightly more children than families with children in general. The average number of children was 2.1. Fifty-nine 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.

Families by type in 1990–2016

Type of
family 
1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2016 Change 
2015–2016
Families 
total
1 365 341 1 382 970 1 401 963 1 426 002 1 455 073 1 475 335 1 475 583 248
Married 
couple
without 
children
364 452 395 953 436 019 481 209 513 889 528 539 529 697 1 158
Married 
couple
with
children
640 062 579 578 514 868 468 266 446 433 424 185 418 032 -6 153
Cohabiting 
couple
no children
123 471 135 996 160 132 180 590 195 967 215 620 218 439 2 819
Cohabiting 
couple with 
children
65 896 85 309 102 581 112 847 117 254 122 657 123 321 664
Mother and
children
147 297 159 063 159 432 153 024 149 651 150 274 151 459 1 185
Father and
children
24 161 27 071 28 931 29 238 30 278 31 452 31 951 499
Registered
male 
couple 1)
.. .. .. 398 706 1 023 1 052 29
Registered
female 
couple 1)
.. .. .. 430 895 1 585 1 632 47
Family 
population
4 101 922 4 093 038 4 053 850 4 037 753 4 065 168 4 080 544 4 072 565 -7 979
Population
31.12.
4 998 478 5 116 829 5 181 115 5 255 580 5 375 276 5 487 308 5 503 297 15 989
Proportion 
of family
population
82,1 80,0 78,2 76,8 75,6 74,4 74,0 -0,4
Average
size of
family
3,00 2,96 2,89 2,83 2,79 2,77 2,76 0,0
1) Families of the type “registered couple with children” numbered 669 in 2016.

Source: Families 2016, Statistics Finland

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

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

Publication in pdf-format (395.9 kB)

Tables

Tables in databases

Appendix tables

Figures
Quality descriptions

Updated 26.5.2017

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Families [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-3231. 2016. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 23.11.2017].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/perh/2016/perh_2016_2017-05-26_tie_001_en.html

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