The purpose of regional classifications used in statistics is to describe regional variations of various phenomena and regional structure. As most regional classifications, the division of regions is based on the administrative regional division. The Government decided on the division of regions in summer 1992.
Starting from September 1997, the areas of regions and regional councils representing them are uniform. Regional councils attend to the supervision of municipalities’ interests and are in charge of regional development in their operating areas. According to the Government decision in principle (6 February 1997), the regional division of regional councils was adopted as the basis for the regional divisions of regional administration authorities.
Names of regions
By the decision of the Government on 26 February 1998, the names of regions in Finnish and Swedish were confirmed. The decision entered into force on 1 March 1998. Apart from the regional council of Häme, the names of regional councils correspond to the names of regions starting from 1 January 1999.
The recommendation was made in the Ministry of the Interior (December 1998) for the equivalent names of regions in English, German and French. The main principle is to use the national names of regions. However, exceptions are Lapland, Ostrobothnia, Central Finland and Karelia, which already have established equivalents in foreign languages. The Swedish name of a region is used in Nordic languages. If the word region needs to be combined to the name, the structure in Swedish and English is as follows: Etelä-Pohjanmaan maakunta - landskapet Södra Österbotten - (the) region of South Ostrobothnia.
The Government decided on the division into regions in summer 1992. From September 1997 onwards the areas of regions and regional councils representing them are uniform. Regional councils supervise the interests of the municipalities in their area and are responsible for the regional development in the area. According to the Government decision in principle (6 Feb.1997), the regional division into regional councils was adopted as the basis of the regional division in the State regional administration.
Relationship with international classifications:
Finland's regions belong to the NUTS 3 level in the regional classification system of the European Union (NUTS).
Municipalities and Regional Divisions Based on Municipalities. Statistics Finland, Handbooks 28 (in Finnish, Swedish, English)
Mr Miia Huomo, Population Statistics/Geographic information, or Ms Saija Ylönen, IT and Statistical Methods/Classification and metadata services. Tel. +358 9 17341 (exchange).
On 1 January 2007, as a result of the abolishment of Längelmäki (443), the regional boundary changed, when part of the area of Längelmäki moved from Pirkanmaa (06) to the region of Central Finland. The areas of Längelmäki were merged with Jämsä (182, Central Finland) and Orivesi (562, Pirkanmaa). The size of the area merged with Orivesi is 300 km2, the area merged with Jämsä 197.6 km2. According to the population data on the situation in 2004, 64 per cent (1,088 persons) of the inhabitants in the present municipality of Längelmäki moved to the area merged with Jämsä and 36 per cent (612) to the area merged with Orivesi. On 1 January 2005, Punkalaidun (619) moved from the region of Satakunta (04) to the region of Pirkanmaa (06). The change is taken into account in statistics produced on the national level. The change is not taken into consideration in statistics submitted to Eurostat, because data are delivered according to the NUTS classification. (NUTS is the EU's common classification of statistical regions, which is updated at most every three years.) On 1 January 2002, Kangaslampi (212) moved from the region of Etelä-Savo (10) to the region of Pohjois-Savo (11). As a result of the municipal merger of 1 January 2001 when Kuorevesi (299) merged with Jämsä, the former municipality of Kuorevesi moved from the region of Pirkanmaa to that of Central Finland. On 1 March 1998, regions received their official names. In this connection, two regions changed their names: The new name of the region of Häme (05) is Kanta-Häme. The new name of Coastal Vasa (15) is Ostrobothnia.
The classification of regions is a classification compiled for national needs.