Quality description: Population projection 2018–2070

1. Relevance of statistical information

The basic population for this population projection has been population at the end of 20174 by 1-year age group according to gender.

There are two calculations of the projection:

  • A calculation including migration (calculation 1), where account is taken of the effect of the birth rate, mortality and migration on population development.

  • The self-sufficiency calculation (calculation 2) expresses what the future population development would be like without migration. The calculation takes only the impact of the birth rate and mortality on population development into account. The assumptions concerning birth rate and mortality are the same as in calculation 1. The numbers of births are, however, different in these calculations, as migrants assume the fertility of the receiving area in the calculation including migration.

The Central Statistical Office of Finland published the first population projection concerning Finland’s future population development in 1934. In 1956 the memorandum of the statistical committee set up in 1953 proposed that population projections should be compiled at regular intervals. The first projections related to the population development of the whole country. Preparation of regional projections started in the 1960s.

In 1973 the so-called population projection group established by the Prime Minister’s Office published its report “On arrangement of compilation of population projections” (“Väestöennusteiden laadinnan järjestäminen”, Valtioneuvoston kanslian julkaisuja 1973:1). In the report population projections were defined as follows: ”Population projections are calculations based on the past development of the factors influencing population development, which do not include population development planned by the compiler of the projection or any expressions of intent related to regional policy.”

According to the report, population projections “...indicate to decision-makers primarily what the development will lead to if social policy stays unchanged. Decision-makers have to assess the advisability of the development and consider on that basis whether the projections can be used as foundation for decisions on investments and on measurement of activities.”

2. Methodological description of survey

The population projection method used is a so-called demographic component model in which the future population number and structure are calculated by means of age-specific birth rate, mortality and migration coefficients. The coefficients are calculated on the basis of demographic statistics for the last few years.

Birth rate

Age-specific fertility rates (women aged 14 to 50) have been calculated for the years 2013 to 2017. In the projection the fertility rates have been kept constant throughout the projection period. For the whole country the average total fertility rate, that is, the average number of children born to each individual woman during her lifetime is 1.45.

Mortality

Age-specific mortality rates have been calculated for the years 2013 to 2017. Coefficients by age and gender group for the annual change in mortality were derived by calculating how much mortality changed when comparing 1987 to 1991 with 2013 to 2017. Mortality was not inflated for any age group, however.

Migration

In the calculation containing migration, the net immigration for the whole country is assumed to be 15,000 persons per year. Net immigration is obtained by adding the assumed net immigration to the emigration for the whole country. The age distribution of immigration was calculated on the basis of immigration during 2012 to 2016.

3. Correctness and accuracy of data

Municipal projections should be compiled for all municipalities with the same principles. It would be impossible to treat municipalities ”individually”, and therefore there have always been and will always be cases where e.g. the calculation period of the projection coefficients has somehow been exceptional for a municipality, which causes the projection to differ from the trend development in either direction.

The projection deviations for small municipalities are primarily due to their projection coefficients not corresponding to the actual level of out-migration, in-migration, fertility or mortality. Small municipalities must be combined into larger entities in order to reduce random variation.

In previous population projections the whole country was divided into four mortality areas. The number of mortality areas used now is much higher. The number of mortality areas has been increased so that regional differences in the level can better be taken into account. The population projection by municipality has always had some over-mortality. In order to reduce random variation, mortality coefficients have been calculated for a longer period and mortality coefficients for the whole country have been used for certain age groups (0 to 17 and 90 to 104+).

4. Timeliness and promptness of published data

Statistics Finland has prepared population projections by municipality at intervals of roughly three years. In the intervening years, projection calculations were made concerning the whole country on the basis of various assumptions, e.g. the low, average and high alternative. In recent years alternative calculations have been made mainly only as chargeable assignments, in which case the calculations have been based on the assumptions specified by the customer.

In connection with the 1998 projection a so-called stochastic forecast was calculated for the whole country with the PEP software (Program for Error Propagation) developed at the University of Joensuu. In it the population change components vary like they have varied in the past, and from the produced projection database e.g. the range of some statistical information can be derived with the desired probability. (For further information, see Juha M. Alho: A Stochastic Forecast of the Population of Finland. Katsauksia 1998:4).

The 2018 projection extends to the year 2070.

5. Accessibility and transparency/clarity of data

Up to 1972, population projections by municipality were published in the ”Tilastollisia tiedonantoja” series, then until 1985 in the “Tilastotiedotus VÄ” series and after that in the OSF Population series. Municipalities’ projected figures by age group were published as a separate volume of the 1969 projection, while age group data by municipality from later projections were available as photocopies. In the 1990s the data were mainly supplied as Excel tables. Previous projection files by municipality were not retained. Data on the population projections made in 2001, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2015 are available in electronic format.

Data from the latest projection are available free of charge from the Px-Web StatFin service on the Internet at http://pxnet2.stat.fi/PXWeb/pxweb/en/StatFin/StatFin__vrm__vaenn/?tablelist=true

6. Comparability of statistics

Statistics Finland’s population projections are long-term projections. Therefore, they do not always give a reliable picture of e.g. the number of births or deaths in the coming years. Since the 1970s the birth rate has fluctuated up and down so that the total fertility rate has varied between 1.49 (2017) and 1.87 (2010). In population projections fertility has been kept constant at some average or initial level, because it would be impossible to guess the turning points in development. Likewise, mortality has fallen quickly at times and slowly at others. In the projections, the change coefficients for mortality have been calculated for around 20–year periods so that they would include periods of both quick and slower lowering.

When comparing different projections, differences in the projection assumptions should be taken into account. Many municipalities prepare their own population projections, whose assumptions may deviate greatly from those used in Statistics Finland’s projections. In addition to Statistics Finland, population projections concerning the whole of Finland are produced by e.g. Eurostat and the UN.

7. Coherence and consistency/uniformity

In Statistics Finland’s population projections, the population figures for each year refer to the situation on 31 December. In the projections by Eurostat and many municipalities, the figures refer to the situation on 1 January. In the UN projections, the figures represent the situation in the middle of the year.


Source: Population and Justice Statistics. Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Markus Rapo 029 551 3238, vaesto.tilasto@stat.fi

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma


Updated 16.11.2018

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Population projection [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-5153. 2018, Quality description: Population projection 2018–2070 . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 7.12.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/vaenn/2018/vaenn_2018_2018-11-16_laa_001_en.html