14.8.2022 valid documentation

Basic data of the statistics

Data description

The statistics on dwellings and housing conditions constitute annual statistics. The statistics describe the existing stock, number of dwellings and attribute data. They also describe the persons residing in the dwellings, household-dwelling units and the housing conditions of the dwelling population on the last day of each year. The dwelling stock comprises both permanently occupied dwellings and dwellings and flats without permanent occupants.

Statistics Finland receives most its data on dwellings from the Population Information System of the Digital and Population Data Services Agency, into which municipal building supervision authorities report data concerning buildings and dwellings that are subject to building permits.

All persons residing permanently in the same dwelling form a household-dwelling unit. Household-dwelling units are described by their structure, stage in life and the age of their members. Housing conditions are described by variables such as tenure status, type of building, number of rooms and facilities. The statistics can be compiled by all regional divisions based on municipalities and coordinates and by postal code area. The statistics on dwellings and housing conditions constitute total data.

The statistics on dwellings and housing conditions are part of the population and housing census conducted every ten years. The statistics comply with the UN’s recommendations for censuses of population and housing and the EU Regulation on population and housing censuses.
 

Statistical population

The statistics on dwellings and housing conditions constitute total data.
The statistical population of household-dwelling units is made up of persons residing in normal dwellings. Persons who according to the Digital and Population Data Services Agency’s Population Information System are institutionalised, or are homeless, or are abroad, or are registered as unknown, are not included in what is referred to as the dwelling population. Nor do persons living in buildings classified as residential homes or as residential dwellings for special groups form household-dwelling units if their living quarters do not meet the definition of a dwelling unit.
 
The dwelling stock comprises permanently occupied and temporarily occupied or unoccupied dwellings. The dwelling stock describes dwellings in active use. The dwelling stock does not include detached and semi-detached houses which have been unoccupied for a long time or have a substandard level of equipment. Nor does it include other abandoned houses.

The data on dwellings, household-dwelling units and housing conditions are received from the Population Information System of the Digital and Population Data Services Agency, into which municipal building supervision authorities report data concerning buildings and dwellings that are subject to building permits. The Digital and Population Data Services Agency maintains data on persons that can be linked to dwellings with the help of identifiers.
 

Statistical unit

The statistical units are dwellings and household-dwelling units. Household-dwelling units can be linked to dwellings and persons with identifiers.

Unit of measure

The units of measure used in the statistics are the number of dwellings, household-dwelling units and dwelling population (i.e. persons) as well as the dwellings’ floor area in square metres. The total amounts are millions of units (dwellings, household-dwelling units, persons, floor area).

Base period

The statistics describe the situation on the last day of each year.

Reference period

The statistics on dwellings and housing conditions are compiled annually. The data describe the situation on the last day of the year. The regional breakdown applied is the regional breakdown valid on the day after the compilation period, i.e. the first day at the turn of a year. Therefore, the statistics concerning any municipalities which merge on the first day of a year are compiled as one.

Reference area

The statistical data are published at municipal level and according to all regional divisions based on municipalities.

The statistics can be produced according to all regional divisions based on municipalities and coordinates, as well as by postal code area. 
 

Sector coverage

The statistics on dwellings and housing conditions constitute total data.

The statistical population of household-dwelling units is made up of persons residing in normal dwellings. Persons who according to the Digital and Population Data Services Agency’s Population Information System are institutionalised, or are homeless, or are abroad, or are registered as unknown, are not included in what is referred to as the dwelling population. Nor do persons living in buildings classified as residential homes or as residential dwellings for special groups form household-dwelling units if their living quarters do not meet the definition of a dwelling unit.

Housing conditions are described extensively by the type of dwelling and type of building.

The statistics describe the dwelling stock in active use. Detached houses and semi-detached houses which have been unoccupied for a long time and other abandoned houses are removed from the dwelling stock. 
 

Time coverage

The statistics on dwellings and housing conditions constitute annual statistics.

The data in the statistics are published in StatFin database tables from 1990 onwards.

The data in the statistics have been collected in censuses in 1950, 1960, 1970, 1975 and 1980. From 1987 to 2007, the data were published annually in the separate statistics on the dwelling stock as well as the statistics on household-dwelling units and housing conditions. In 2008, the statistics were combined into the statistics on dwellings and housing conditions. Some of the data from the earlier years are available solely as aggregated data.
 

Frequency of dissemination

The basic data of the statistics on dwellings and housing conditions – such as the number of household-dwelling units, the number of those living alone, occupancy rate and the number of dwellings – are published annually in May. Data on the tenure status of dwellings are published in October.

Accuracy, reliability and timeliness

Overall accuracy

The statistics on dwellings and housing conditions are based on register data. Thus, the quality of the statistics is fairly directly dependent on the quality of the source data. The data in the statistics are primarily based on the Population Information System maintained by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency.
The data on the number of household-dwelling units and other individual-based data are nearly 100 per cent accurate. The accuracy of the data is indicated by the address reliability study (persons’ place of residence). The study was a sample survey and it was carried out by Statistics Finland. In 2012, approximately 11,000 individuals were inquired whether their address is the same as that in the Population Information System. In the 2012 survey, the address of 98.1 per cent of the respondents was accurate, non-responses included. Following the discontinuation of census registration (as of 1989), the Digital and Population Data Services Agency’s population data have been maintained solely on the basis of reports on vital events.

The dwelling stock data on the demolition of dwellings and other removals of buildings are not transmitted to the Population Information System in all respects. This is why the statistics only aim to describe dwellings in active use. The aim is to correct the statistical data of Statistics Finland with compiling rules in such a way that any probable removals – such as buildings and dwellings that are old or in poor repair – are eliminated from the data. Statistics Finland also tries to deduce and correct other errors in the original data and any data missing in terms of buildings. Some of the data concerning the facilities of buildings and dwellings have only been collected after the register was established, i.e. after the 1980 census, which impairs the coverage of the data in question. Such data pertain to lifts, balconies and mechanical ventilation, for example. Persons are linked to dwelling data with the help of unique identifiers and dwellings with permanent occupants are inferred from the personal data in the Population Information System.

The coverage of the key data on dwellings is fairly good. It is sometimes difficult to infer whether the dwellings of unoccupied detached buildings still belong to the dwelling stock and when they are removed from there as unfit for habitation. This is why detached buildings which have not been occupied for more than 15 years are removed from the statistics. If permanent residents nevertheless move into such a building removed from the dwelling stock, the dwelling is returned to the dwelling stock.

Some errors may occur in the attribute data of dwellings, given that the authorities maintaining the Population Information System are not made aware of all change data comprehensively. Data on new buildings built without a permit as well as on modification and improvement work which do not require a permit or for which a permit has not been applied, are not transmitted to the information system. Changes to heating systems or heating fuel are not, in all cases, subject to a permit, nor are measures related to a building’s equipment and network connections, due to which they may contain errors.

Statistics Finland is able to correct some of the erroneous data by removing inconsistencies between various facilities, heating systems and heating fuels. The data which have only been collected after the establishment of the 1980 knowledge base also contain deficiencies. Data on lifts, balconies and mechanical ventilation, for instance, may be deficient. The tenure status (owner-occupied, rented, etc.) of a dwelling is updated in the Population Information System through notifications on moves when occupants relocate. Statistics Finland supplements the data on tenure statuses with the help of the Tax Administration’s data on the sale of housing company flats and the data of the Housing Fund of Finland. 
 

Timeliness

The basic data of the statistics on dwellings and housing conditions are published with a five-month delay relative to the reference period (last day of the year). Correspondingly, data related to tenure statuses are published with a 10-month delay.

Punctuality

There is no delay in releasing the data. The data are published on the dates specified in the release calendar.

Comparability

Comparability - geographical

The data of the statistics on dwellings and housing conditions can be produced with both national and European regional classifications (NUTS), given that the statistics include coordinate data for buildings. The statistics are compiled primarily on the basis of concepts and definitions in line with the UN’s recommendations.

Comparability - over time

When comparing data from different periods, it must be taken into account that some of the changes may be partly attributable to checks made to the register, changes in the compiling of the statistical data, or different collection methods during earlier years. For example, repairs during years of construction have an impact on the age structure of buildings; likewise, changes to
the intended use of buildings must be accounted for when reviewing annual changes.  The 1985 census marked the first time that register data were used in forming statistics on dwellings, buildings and household-dwelling units. Data on the housing and building stock were produced in the censuses of 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980 and 1985. The UN’s census recommendations were taken into account in the censuses. As of 1987, the data have been produced annually on the basis of registers, and the annually compiled statistical data are relatively comparable over a longer period of time. Detailed annual changes are not accurate in all respects.
The classification of tenure status has changed slightly over the years. As of 1995, company dwellings and other rental dwellings are no longer separated from each other. As of 1998, the statistics have applied a new tenure status classification which includes data on government-subsidised rental dwellings and right-of-occupancy dwellings. The production system of the statistics on buildings, dwellings and housing conditions was revised as of statistical year 2005. The compiling of some data was specified at the same time; for example, the treatment of a dwelling’s tenure status accounted for the data on a building’s owner in increasing detail. The impact is visible in the figures of the tenure status data as of 2005, particularly in terms of the class of Other rental dwellings and the class of Owns the house. The size of the first-mentioned one decreased, while the size of the latter increased. The statistics’ production revision carried out in statistical reference year 2020 specified the tenure status data even further.
The production system for the statistics on buildings, dwellings and housing conditions was revised in terms of the data on dwellings and buildings during statistical reference year 2020. In the same context, the statistics on dwellings and housing conditions adopted a new building classification (Classification of Buildings 2018). In accordance with the new building classification, rental holiday cottages are classified under free-time residential buildings (free-time residences). This means that dwellings formerly included in rental holiday cottages were removed from the dwelling stock (thereby having a reducing impact on the class Other buildings in terms of the type of building). 

The greatest changes in the classification of types of building formed on the basis of the new building classification concerned the detached and semi-detached houses (of which there were some 12,000), which were not unambiguously single-family or two-dwelling houses. In the new building classification, these houses, formerly classified under Other separate detached houses (013), are classified either under terraced houses (3,000 dwellings) or low-rise blocks of flats (9,000 dwellings) based on their attribute data.

The statistics on household-dwelling units have been compiled on the basis of registers since 1980. This is when the concept of a household-dwelling unit was adopted. In 1980, persons who lived in buildings classified as residential buildings for communities, but whose dwelling did not meet the definition of a dwelling, also formed household-dwelling units. Subsequently this was no longer the case. 

The concept of a household was used in censuses prior to 1980. A household consisted of family members and other persons living together who made common provision for food. A subtenant providing for his or her own food constituted a separate household. As of 1980, the statistics on housing conditions have classified subtenants in the same household-dwelling units as the other occupants in the dwelling. 
 

Coherence - cross domain

Statistics Finland’s statistics on the building and dwelling stock correspond with each other in such a way that for each dwelling in the dwelling stock, there is a corresponding building in the building stock. Occupied dwellings are arrived at by combining the Population Information System’s personal data with its dwelling data with the help of identifiers, which also allows for a description of housing conditions. The dwelling stock also includes vacant and temporarily occupied dwellings.
Statistics Finland’s statistics on the building stock and dwelling stock and, on the other hand, the Digital and Population Data Services Agency’s building and dwelling information are not entirely coherent, given that Statistics Finland aims to correct any deficiencies in the original data.
The quantitative data of Statistics Finland’s statistics on dwellings and housing conditions and its statistics on building and dwelling production, which describe new construction, are not entirely identical due to the different times at which the relevant data are drawn, for example. Furthermore, extensions to the dwelling and building stock and modifications comparable to re-construction can be registered under the start date of a building permit in the statistics on building and dwelling production, which describe new construction, but under a building’s original year of completion in the statistics describing the building and dwelling stock. The statistics on dwellings and housing conditions include all dwellings which were occupied on the last day of the year, and buildings are marked as completed even if there were no original year of completion (the most recent years also retroactively).
Buildings and dwellings that are no longer included in the actively used building and dwelling stock are removed annually from the dwelling stock data included in the statistics on dwellings and housing conditions. The data removed include, for example, buildings that have been torn down or destroyed and dwellings that have been unoccupied for a long time. It is also possible for a building previously not included in the dwelling stock to be taken into use as a dwelling, in which case it is included in the dwelling stock.
A dwelling population departs from the basic family population in that families also include those persons with a family who live in residential homes. Family statistics, on the other hand, do not include one-person households (persons living alone), who are included in the dwelling stock and dwelling population data. The dwelling population does not include persons living permanently in institutional-like housing conditions; see concepts and definitions.
 

Coherence - internal

Statistics Finland's statistics on building and housing statistics correspond so that the building corresponding to each dwelling in the housing stock is in the building stock. The dwellings have been obtained by combining persons with apartment data using a permanent building ID and address number. Thus residential conditions can also be described.

The housing population in the housing statistics differs from the basic population of the family statistics because families living in dormitories are included in families. Instead, single residents do not belong to families or family populations. However, single residents belong to the housing units and the housing population.

Habitually, those in dormitories, nursing buildings or other institutions, homeless, foreign or unspecified persons do not form housing units and are not part of the so-called housing population.

When comparing the number of housing units and dwellings, it is necessary to take into account that the housing stock also includes empty and temporarily populated dwellings that are not included in the housing conditions statistics.

Statistics Finland's statistics on building and housing statistics, as well as the DVV's building and apartment data, are not fully congruent due to efforts to correct the errors in the registry in Statistics Finland.

The discrepancies between Statistics Finland's two different statistics, housing stock statistics and statistics on construction and housing production describing new construction, are due to, among other things, different times of picking. In addition, the housing stock includes all those dwellings that were inhabited on the last day of the year, even if they have not yet been completed. It is also possible that a building previously not part of the housing stock will be put into housing use, thus becoming involved in the housing stock.

Source data and data collections

Source data

The statistics on dwellings and housing conditions are compiled primarily with the help of the data in the Digital and Population Data Services Agency’s Population Information System and the various register data of the Tax Administration.
On 1 January 2020, the name of the agency maintaining the Population Information System, serving as the data source, changed to the Digital and Population Data Services Agency (formerly the Population Register Centre).
 

Data collection

Statistics Finland has an agreement with the Digital and Population Data Services Agency and the Tax Administration on the supply of data to Statistics Finland.

Frequency of data collection

The register of the Digital and Population Data Services Agency is updated continuously. Statistics Finland draws the data as both week-level and year-level data. 

Methods

Data compilation

The data compilation makes use of corrections made in previous years, logical conclusions and data outside the basic data. The data of the Tax Administration’s real estate register, for instance, and the data of the Residential and Commercial Property Information System are used for checking building data and imputing missing data. The statistical data are also compared to other construction data of the same period, such as the figures of new production.
The aim is to correct the data of Statistics Finland with compiling rules in such a way that any probable removals – such as buildings that are old or in poor repair – are eliminated from the data. Detached houses that have been unoccupied for more than 15 years, for instance, are removed from the statistics. If permanent residents nevertheless move into such a building removed from the dwelling stock, the dwelling is returned to the dwelling and building stock.
Not all modification work constitutes construction subject to a permit, nor are all measures pertaining to a building’s facilities and network connections subject to a permit, due to which data about them are not always conveyed to the authorities and thereby to the statistics. This is why data on electrification or running water and sewage connections is missing from a large number of the register data on free-time residences.

Statistics Finland aims, to some extent, to deduce and correct errors in the original data and any data missing in terms of buildings. For example, data describing the same building have not been accepted twice if it is suspected that the data overlap. Statistics Finland also tries to deduce and correct other errors in the original data and any data missing in terms of buildings. Some of the data concerning the facilities of buildings and dwellings have only been collected after the register was established, i.e. after the 1980 census, due to which they are partly incomplete. Such data pertain to lifts, balconies and mechanical ventilation, for example. 
Household-dwelling units are formed of persons living in the same dwelling. Household-dwelling units which are oversize or have a deviating structure of persons do not form household-dwelling units and are not included in the statistics. Household-dwelling units are formed of persons living in “normal” dwellings. Institutionalised persons or persons living in institution-like conditions do not form household-dwelling units.
 

Data validation

When the source data are received, the variables are checked at Statistics Finland to ensure that they correspond with the data needed for the statistics. The numbers of the units are checked and compared to previous deliveries. Data validation is carried out at every stage of the processing of the statistical data (see the following section, 18.5).

Principles and outlines

Contact organisation

Statistics Finland

Contact organisation unit

Social Statistics

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 compiling of the statistics is also guided by the Population and Housing census conducted every ten years. The census is based on the UN’s recommendations and the EU’s Regulation on European Statistics.

International regulations and recommendations related to the Population and Housing census: EU Regulation on population and housing censuses and the Conference of European Statisticians Recommendations for the 2020 Censuses of Population and Housing, (Chapter XIV. Household and family characteristic).

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

The data are processed with pseudonymous identifiers, i.e. artificial identifiers for persons, buildings and dwellings. The suppression of individual pieces of data is applied case-specifically in regional breakdowns smaller than a municipality.

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

The data of the statistics are used by other statistics of Statistics Finland relying on housing and building data.

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

The quality of the statistics on dwellings and housing conditions are assessed in several different stages of the statistical process. Coherence analyses are conducted annually by comparing the data in the statistics to other corresponding data on housing, such as figures concerning government-subsidised dwellings, other changes that have taken place in the operating environment (including changes to housing benefit regulations) and, temporally, to the data of earlier years.

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 frameworks complement each other. The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are also 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. 

Statistical experts

Mika Ronkainen
Senior Statistician
029 551 3425