Information on the classification


The classification of socio-economic groups divides the population into groups according to their social and economic characteristics. Socio-economic status is formed of several different classification criteria because there is no single criterion that would embody all the factors influencing the status of the person. Such factors include the person's stage in life (family member, student, economically active, pensioner, etc.) and occupation and status in employment (self-employed, employee, unpaid family worker) for economically active people. The classification is also supplemented by divisions according to the nature of occupation and work (employees and workers). In part, industry and the number of wage and salary earners are also used as a basis of division.

Classifications describing socio-economic groups are used, for example, in welfare analyses when examining the living conditions of different social groups and changes in them. Such classifications also serve those researchers who need general indicators of the social environment. Classifications of socio-economic groups are also applied generally in population statistics, Labour Force Surveys, income distribution statistics and Household Budget Surveys.

The Classification of Socio-economic Groups 1989 is still in use even though it is already outdated in some respects.

Relationship with international classifications:

Finland's Classification of Socio-economic Groups 1989 is based on the statistical recommendations issued by the UN for the 1990 Population Censuses although it does not fully comply with them.


Classification of Socio-economic Groups 1989. Helsinki: Statistics Finland, 1989. Handbooks / Statistics Finland, 17 (in Finnish, English summary)

Further information:

Mr Pasi Markelin, Social Statistics/Working life. Tel. : +358 9 17341 (exchange).