Deaths: documentation of statistics
Basic data of the statistics
Unit of measure
In the key figures, per mil (infant mortality, probability of death, general mortality rate) or years (life expectancy).
The classification into regions and the statistical grouping of municipalities have been used since 1997. The respective categories used prior to this were province and type of municipality. Since 1999, the regional division entering into force at the beginning of the year following the statistical reference year has been applied in the statistics.
Frequency of dissemination
Languages are classified by the Population Register Centre according to the ISO 639 standard. The future language classification ISO-639-1 was already adopted for the 2000 population census.
Accuracy, reliability and timeliness
The Population Information System maintained by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency and the State Department of Åland can be regarded as very exhaustive in terms of persons. To obtain a personal identity code, a person has to be registered in the Population Information System. It is practically impossible to live in Finland without a personal identity code. A personal identity code is needed in order to work legally, open a bank account, attend to matters with authorities, and so on.
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 2012, the address was correct for 98.9 per cent of the respondents.
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.
Comparability - geographical
The definitions of the statistics on deaths are in line with international recommendations, so comparison between countries is possible.
Comparability - over time
Coherence - cross domain
The figures on deaths in Statistics Finland's statistics on causes of death differ somewhat from those in the statistics on deaths, because the definition of cases included in the statistics and the waiting period for events differ slightly.
Coherence - internal
Source data and data collections
The health care unit or the physician has to report the death to the Population Information System (Act 1065/2009). Persons declared dead have been included in deaths since 2005 when the Act (127/2005) on declaring someone legally dead made it possible in certain circumstances to considerably speed up the process of declaring someone legally dead. A petition for declaring a person legally dead can be submitted immediately after his/her disappearance if at the time of the disappearance the person was in an accident causing immediate mortal danger. A petition for declaring someone legally dead can also be submitted after a waiting period of between one and five years dependent on the situation. The date of the day when the person was last known to have been alive is regarded as the starting date of the waiting period. A petition for declaring someone legally dead must be submitted to the court in whose district the disappeared person’s last municipality of residence was located. The court concerned also makes a decision about declaring the person legally dead and about the date of death of the disappeared person. The court enters the decision about declaring the person legally dead into the Population Information System from which they become available to Statistics Finland.
Frequency of data collection
- The number of deaths is compared with the number of deaths in the preliminary population statistics.
- It is checked that there are no duplicate rows in the data.
- It is checked that the case has not appeared in the statistical data of earlier years.
- It is checked that a person marked as deceased is not registered as a living person after the event in the data on population structure. If necessary, data on the case are examined in other population data sets and ultimately in the direct access service of the Population Information System.
- The direct distributions of the variables are checked and it is examined if the variable values are in line with the classifications.
- The logicality of certain variables is checked by cross-tabulation, such as that the marital status of the deceased must be logical relative to the marital status of the widowed.
Principles and outlines
Contact organisation unit
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
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 accordance with data protection practices, rules concerning less detailed data are applied when distributing data by area if the table contains variables specified as sensitive. Then figures below the threshold value are not reported or they are not divided into categories of sensitive variables.
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. Releasing the sample instead of the total data is the main data protection method. In addition to sampling, Statistics Finland has used, for example, less detailed classification of variables, removal of variables or suppression of the variable values received by an individual unit as data limiting methods.
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
The Regulation on demographic statistics (EC) No 1260/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council defines the data and metadata to be submitted to Eurostat, responsible for compiling population statistics in the EU. The following population statistics data are supplied on deaths: age of the deceased, sex, year of birth, country of birth, nationality, marital status, area of residence according to the NUTS3 regional classification, education data and month of death. In addition, data on the parents’ education are supplied concerning infant mortality. The above-mentioned data are also delivered to the United Nations Statistical Division, the OECD and the Nordic Council.
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.
The Official Statistics of Finland (OSF) are a comprehensive collection of statistics describing the development and state of society. They comprise nearly 300 sets of statistics on 26 different topics. The producers of Official Statistics of Finland have approved a common quality assurance in which they commit to common quality criteria and quality assurance measures. The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice. The good practices followed in the statistics are presented in Statistics Finland's Quality Guidelines for Official Statistics handbook.
The statistics on deaths and their production process were audited in autumn 2017.
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)
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
Are you looking for previously published documentation?
The documentation released before 5.4.2022 can be found on the archive pages of the statistics.Go to the archive page