18.4.2024 valid documentation

Basic data of the statistics

Data description

The statistics on adoptions contain the adoptions confirmed by the decision of a Finnish court of law during the statistical year. The statistics cover domestic and international adoptions in which at least one of the adoptive parents has, according to the Population Information System, resided permanently in Finland at the time the decision was made. The permanent residence of the adopted child at the time the decision is made has no relevance when selecting the cases to be included in the statistics. The figures in the statistics also include the adoptions of adults. The statistics contain data on adopted children, adoptive parents and the biological parents of the adopted children.

Statistical population

Adoptions confirmed with a decision of a court of law in Finland during the statistical year in which at least one of the adoptive parents has, according to the Population Information System, resided permanently in Finland at the time the decision was made.

Statistical unit

The statistical unit is adoption. In the data, each individual has their own identifier which is used as a link to other individual-based data.  

Unit of measure

The number of adoptions.

Reference period

The reference period of the statistics is a calendar year.

Reference area

Data in Finland are available on a countrywide level and according to various regional divisions based on Finland’s division into municipalities. 
The classification into regions and the statistical grouping of municipalities have been used since 1997. Prior to this, provinces were used instead of regions and forms of local government instead of the statistical grouping of municipalities. As of 1999, the statistics have used the regional division which entered into force at the beginning of the calendar year following the statistical year.

Sector coverage

The statistical data include data related to adoptions, such as the adoption type (a one-parent or two-parent adoption) and whether an adoption takes place within or outside the family. The data on adopted children and adoptive parents cover population data such as age, gender, marital status, language, nationality, country of birth, the municipality of birth and the municipality of residence. These data accord with the date of the decision pertaining to an adoption. Background data on the biological parents of an adopted child are included if a biological parent has, at some point, belonged to Finland’s population.

Time coverage

Data on adoptions since 1987 are available in the StatFin statistical database.

Frequency of dissemination

Unless otherwise stated, the final statistics on adoptions for a calendar year are completed in August of the following calendar year.



Prior to 1997, changes in the statutory order of succession were classified as adopted children in the population statistics, although no actual adoptions were made. From the 1997 statistics, only actual adoptions have been recorded as adoptions.


The information about sex has been obtained from the Population Information System.


Accuracy, reliability and timeliness

Overall accuracy

The statistics on adoptions represent total data. The data on adoptions are equal in quality to that of the Population Information System. With regard to the statistics on adoption, this means that all adoptions confirmed with a decision by a Finnish court of law, in which at least one of the adoptive parents has, according to the Population Information System, resided in Finland permanently at the time of the decision, end up in the register.
The Population Information System maintained by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency and the State Department of Åland can be considered very comprehensive in terms of individuals. For an individual to receive a personal identity code, they must be registered in the Population Information System. It is practically impossible to live in Finland without a personal identity code. Legal employment, the opening of a bank account, taking care of affairs with the authorities, etc. all require a personal identity code.
Since the discontinuation of yearly checking of domicile registers in 1989, the Population Information System has been maintained only by notifications of population changes. The Digital and Population Data Services Agency has requested Statistics Finland to carry out sample surveys on the correctness of address data. Around 11,000 persons were asked whether their address in the Population Information System is correct. In the latest survey, in 2012, the address of 98.9 per cent of the respondents was accurate.
In connection with municipal elections, returned notifications of voting sent to foreigners usually reveal around 1,000 persons who have moved from the country without giving notice and are thus still included in the Finnish population.


The data are published approximately eight months after the reference period.


The data are almost invariably released on the target date, due to which there has been no time delay. If the release of statistical data is significantly delayed from the announced point of time, information about the delay is posted on Statistics Finland’s home page.


Comparability - geographical

Due to data protection reasons, data on adoptions are only released on a countrywide level.

Comparability - over time

Data on adoptions since 1987 are available in the StatFin statistical database.

Coherence - cross domain

The data of the population statistics are used as basic data for population in the other statistics of Statistics Finland. Thus, different statistics of Statistics Finland are consistent with each other as regards population data.
The Finnish Adoption Board, which operates under the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira), publishes statistical data on determinations of the suitability to adopt. Statistics Finland’s statistics on adoptions depart from the figures of the Adoption Board to some degree, given that the definition of cases deemed fit for the statistics and the waiting period of cases differ slightly.

Coherence - internal

The statistics on adoptions from 1987 to 1996 also include changes that took place in orders of succession, although they only changed the qualities of an adoptive relationship and no actual adoptions occurred. As of 1997, the statistics on adoptions show only genuine adoptions.
An amendment to the act (391/2009), according to which a party to a registered partnership could adopt the other party’s child, entered into force in September 2009. By virtue of an amendment to the Marriage Act which took effect in March 2017 (156/2015), same-sex couples were able to marry and the registrations of registered partnerships ended. At the same time, joint adoption became possible for married same-sex couples.
The Maternity Act entered into force on 1 April 2019. Under the Maternity Act, for a child born to a female couple as a result of assisted fertility treatment the legal relationship with both parents can be confirmed before the child is born, and adoption within the family is not required.

Source data and data collections

Source data

The statistical data on adoptions represent total data. The statistics on adoptions are based on data obtained from the Population Information System on a weekly basis. The Digital and Population Data Services Agency and the State Department of Åland maintain the Population Information System by recording the data they receive on population changes taking place among the population in the system. Information on decisions made by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency may be added to the data. Adoptions are confirmed by a court of law, which enters the details of adoptions in the Population Information System.

Data collection

Statistics Finland has obtained population data from the Population Information System maintained by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency and the State Department of Åland on a weekly basis since 1975. The disclosure of the data is based on the act on Statistics Finland’s status as the statistical authority. 

Frequency of data collection

The data are collected annually.


Data compilation

The data include underlying variables which may contain missing or invalid values. The aim is to impute the data from other population data or the Population Information System. Cases are not imputed.

Data validation

The data are checked for double rows.
It is checked that the case has not appeared in the statistical data of earlier years.
Cases are compared against the data on interpersonal relations in other population data. If necessary, the details of a case are examined in the Population Information System’s direct access service.
The direct distributions of the variables are verified and the values of the variables are examined to check whether they accord with the classifications.
The logic of some variables is verified with cross-tabulation; for example, the marital statuses of adoptive parents must be logical in relation to one another.

Principles and outlines

Contact organisation

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Contact organisation unit

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Legal acts and other agreements

The compilation of statistics is guided by the Statistics Act. The Statistics Act contains provisions on collection of data, processing of data and the obligation to provide data. Besides the Statistics Act, the Data Protection Act and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities are applied to processing of data when producing statistics.
Statistics Finland compiles statistics in line with the EU’s regulations applicable to statistics, which steer the statistical agencies of all EU Member States. 
Further information: Statistical legislation
The compilation of statistics is guided by the general act of the national statistical service, the Statistics Act (280/2004, amend. 361/2013). Only the necessary data that are not available from administrative data sources are collected from data suppliers. 
Statistics Finland’s task is to compile statistics and reports describing conditions in society. These also include population statistics, one set of which is statistics on adoptions. Statistics Finland’s Rules of Procedure valid at each time specify the compiler of population statistics.
The statistics are compiled according to the municipality of residence determined in accordance with the Municipality of Residence Act (201/1994) and the permanent place of residence there.
The data stored in the Population Information System are specified in the Act (21 August 2009/661) on the Population Information System and the certificate services of the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. The rights of residence of foreign citizens are defined in the Aliens Act (301/2004). Statistics Finland and the Digital and Population Data Services Agency have made an agreement on the delivery of the relevant data.

Confidentiality - policy

The data protection of data collected for statistical purposes is guaranteed in accordance with the requirements of the Statistics Act (280/2004), the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and the Data Protection Act (1050/2018). The data materials are protected at all stages of processing with the necessary physical and technical solutions. Statistics Finland has compiled detailed directions and instructions for confidential processing of the data. Employees have access only to the data essential for their duties. The premises where unit-level data are processed are not accessible to outsiders. Members of the personnel have signed a pledge of secrecy upon entering the service. Violation of data protection is punishable.
Further information: Data protection | Statistics Finland (stat.fi)

Confidentiality - data treatment

In population statistics, the identification data of an individual are pseudonymised, that is, the data of a person can no longer be linked to a specific person without additional information.
In accordance with data protection practices, regional data dissemination complies with aggregation rules if a table includes variables defined as sensitive. In such cases, figures remaining below the limit value are not reported or divided into the classes of the sensitive variable.
According to the Statistics Act, data released for research use must be edited into a form from which statistical units cannot be identified directly or indirectly. In order to prevent indirect identification, the key variables in terms of identification must be edited using statistical data protection methods suitable for the situation. The most important data protection method is the disclosure of a sample rather than the total data. In addition to samples, the data limiting methods used by Statistics Finland include aggregating the classification of variables, removing variables and suppressing the variable values of a single unit.

Release policy

Statistics Finland publishes new statistical data at 8 am on weekdays in its web service. The release times of statistics are given in advance in the release calendar available in the web service. The data are public after they have been updated in the web service.
Further information: Publication principles for statistics at Statistics Finland

Data sharing

Data on adoptions are available in the StatFin statistical database after the release. The data become public after they have been updated on the relevant websites. The data on adoptions are not delivered directly to other statistics authorities.

Accessibility and clarity

Statistical data are published as database tables in the StatFin database. The database is the primary publishing site of data, and new data are updated first there. When releasing statistical data, existing database tables can be updated with new data or completely new database tables can be published.
In addition to statistical data published in the StatFin database, a release on the key data is usually published in the web service. If the release contains data concerning several reference periods (e.g. monthly and annual data), a review bringing together these data is published in the web service. Database tables updated at the time of publication are listed both in the release and in the review. In some cases, statistical data can also be published as mere database releases in the StatFin database. No release or review is published in connection with these database releases.
Releases and database tables are published in three languages, in Finnish, Swedish and English. The language versions of releases may have more limited content than in Finnish.  
Information about changes in the publication schedules of releases and database tables and about corrections are given as change releases in the web service.

Data revision - policy

Revisions – i.e. improvements in the accuracy of statistical data already published – are a normal feature of statistical production and result in improved quality of statistics. The principle is that statistical data are based on the best available data and information concerning the statistical phenomenon. On the other hand, the revisions are communicated as transparently as possible in advance. Advance communication ensures that the users can prepare for the data revisions.

The reason why data in statistical releases become revised is often caused by the data becoming supplemented. Then the new, revised statistical figure is based on a wider information basis and describes the phenomenon more accurately than before.

Revisions of statistical data may also be caused by the calculation method used, such as annual benchmarking or updating of weight structures. Changes of base years and used classifications may also cause revisions to data.

Quality assessment

Quality can be assessed by comparing the cases in the statistical data to the data contained by other population data on interpersonal relations.
Every year, Statistics Finland conducts statistical auditing that helps to ensure the quality of statistics.
The statistics on adoptions and their production process were audited in the autumn of 2018.

Quality assurance

Quality management requires comprehensive guidance of activities. The quality management framework of the field of statistics is the European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP). The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice.

Further information: Quality management | Statistics Finland (stat.fi)

User access

Data are released to all users at the same time. Statistical data may only be handled at Statistics Finland and information on them may be given before release only by persons involved in the production of the statistics concerned or who need the data of the statistics concerned in their own work before the data are published.

Further information: Publication principles for statistics

Unless otherwise separately stated in connection with the product, data or service concerned, Statistics Finland is the producer of the data and the owner of the copyright. The terms of use for statistical data

Revisions in statistics

Statistical experts

Miina Keski-Petäjä
Senior Statistician
029 551 3610

The documentation released before 5.4.2022 can be found on the archive pages of the statistics.

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