4. Regional differences in prevalence of types of families with underage children

4.1 Number of cohabiting couples highest in Åland and Kainuu

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 proportion of married couples with children of all families with underage children varies by region between 65.5 per cent in Central Ostrobothnia and 47.5 per cent in Åland. The differences between regions arise from the prevalence of families of cohabiting couples and one-parent families. In relative numbers, most cohabiting couples are found in Åland, Kainuu and Lapland. In Åland, 32 per cent, in Kainuu, 27 per cent and in Lapland, 24 per cent of all families with underage children are families of cohabiting couples. The lowest share of cohabiting families in Finland is found in Uusimaa, 18 per cent.

Figure 7. Families of cohabiting couples as a proportions of families with underage children by region in 2017

Figure 7. Families of cohabiting couples as a proportions of families with underage children by region in 2017

4.2 Ostrobothnia and Päijät-Häme have the lowest proportions of one-parent families with underage children

There are fairly big regional differences in the prevalence of one-parent families with underage children. The number of one-parent families with underage children is lowest in Ostrobothnia, where 15 per cent of families with children have only one parent. In contrast, one-parent families with children account for 24.8 per cent in Päijät-Häme, which is the highest figure in Finland. After Päijät-Häme, the proportion of one-parent families with children is in relative terms highest in Kymenlaakso (24.5%) and Uusimaa (24.0%). After Ostrobothnia, the proportion of one-parent families with children is lowest in Central Ostrobothnia (16.2%) and South Ostrobothnia (18%). (Figure 8.)

Figure 8. Proportion of single-parent families of all families with underage children by region in 2017

Figure 8. Proportion of single-parent families of all families with underage children by region in 2017

The regional variation in the proportion of one-parent families with children is mostly due to the different proportions of families of the type mother and children. The proportion of families of the type father and children ranges from two to four per cent in all regions. The share is biggest in South Karelia (3.9%).

Examined by municipality in Mainland Finland, the proportions of one-parent families with children are highest in Harjavalta and Hartola (28.0%). The proportion of one-parent families with underage children is almost as equal in Helsinki, Multia and Turku (27.9%). The percentages are also high in several of Åland's municipalities, but most of the municipalities are so small that a change of the type of a few families may change much the percentages. The share of one-parent families is 27 per cent in Mariehamn.

In relative terms, Luoto (4.6%) and Pedersöre (7.1%) have the lowest number of one-parent families with underage children in Mainland Finland.

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 (4.6%) and the highest proportion of married couples (88.1%) in the whole country. The number of underage children living at home was highest in Lumijoki, Perho and Sievi, 3.0, on average. The average for the whole country is 1.85.


Source: Population and Justice Statistics, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Marjut Pietiläinen 029 551 2798, Joonas Toivola 029 551 3355, Timo Nikander 029 551 3250, info@stat.fi

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma


Updated 5.12.2018

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Families [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-3231. Annual Review 2017, 4. Regional differences in prevalence of types of families with underage children . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 16.12.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/perh/2017/02/perh_2017_02_2018-12-05_kat_004_en.html