4.3.2024 valid documentation

Basic data of the statistics

Data description

The statistics on population structure describe the population permanently resident in Finland on the last day of the year. The permanent population consists of persons who have a personal identity code and a permanent municipality of residence in Finland.

Statistical population

Population permanently resident in Finland in the reference period. Persons with a personal identity code and a municipality of residence in Finland.

Statistical unit

The statistical unit is a person.

Unit of measure

The measurement unit of the statistics is the number of persons.

Reference period

The reference period of the statistics is the last day of the year (31 December).

Reference area

Data are available on Finland and by various regional divisions based on the division of municipalities in Finland. Statistics based on municipal sub-areas or postal code areas can be produced as charged services. It is also possible to produce coordinate-based grid data.

Sector coverage

The data of the statistics on population structure are total data. They contain data drawn from the Digital and Population Data Services Agency’s Population Information System on all living persons with a personal identity code in the reference period. In general, the Population Information System of the Digital and Population Data Services Agency can be considered very exhaustive as regards persons. The statistics do not include persons who live in Finland temporarily or whose application process for a residence permit is ongoing (e.g. asylum seekers).
 

Time coverage

Population data are available from 1749 onwards. Population numbers have been published by parish since 1865 and by municipality since 1920. The ten-year tables of the clergy provide information about the population’s age, marital status, and language by parish until 1940. From 1950 onwards these data by municipality are available at ten-year intervals on the basis of population censuses. Annual population data by municipality on age, marital status and language are available starting from 1970.
Annual population data by municipality are available in the StatFin statistical database service from 1972 onwards. Population statistics from 1750 onwards have been digitised into PDF format in the National Library's Doria service:
Publications on population structure and population changes in Doria
Publications on population census in Doria

Frequency of dissemination

The statistics on population structure are produced once a year. There are two or three statistical releases annually.

Accuracy, reliability and timeliness

Overall accuracy

To obtain a personal identity code, a person has to be registered in the Population Information System. It is practically impossible to reside permanently in Finland for a long time 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 changes to population information. Their correctness is determined by a reliability survey made of the addresses in the Population Information System.
The Digital and Population Data Services Agency has requested Statistics Finland to carry out sample surveys on the correctness of address data. Around 10,000 persons are asked whether their address in the Population Information System is correct. In the 2012 survey, the address was correct for 98.9 per cent of the respondents. The non-response of this survey was 16.9 per cent. Attempts were made to check the addresses for the persons in the non-response from other sources. The address could be ascertained as correct for 92.3 per cent and as incorrect for 5.9 per cent of the persons included in the non-response. The address of 1.8 per cent of the persons in the non-response could not be checked. Under the assumption that all the unchecked data for the persons in the non-response were incorrect, the final proportion of correct addresses would be 98.1 per cent.
A total of 15,555 persons who have probably moved abroad have been removed after analyses from the population data derived from the Population Information System for the end of 2019. These persons are mostly foreign citizens whose address is unknown and who have not received earned income, capital income, entrepreneurial income, unemployment benefit, pension income, income support or compensation from sickness insurance between 2017 and 2018.

Timeliness

The data are released three months after the reference period.

Punctuality

The statistics have been published on the target date.

Comparability

Comparability - geographical

Up to 1998, population statistics by municipality at the turn of the year were compiled according to the regional division valid on the last day of the year. From 1999 onwards the regional division used has been the one valid on the first day of the following year. When calculating change in the population of a municipality, the previous populations of merged municipalities are taken into account. The time series containing regional data have been made comparable by using the valid regional division in the whole time series.

Comparability - over time

The regional division of the first day of the statistical reference year is used in the statistics on population structure. Comparisons based on numbers can be made when the effect of regional mergers are considered. It is common practice that the entire time series is updated with the temporally latest change.

Coherence - cross domain

The Digital and Population Data Services Agency reports the population according to the register situation on its website. The figure differs from Statistics Finland's population because when compiling population statistics, Statistics Finland awaits notifications about births, deaths and moves related to the reference period so that the official population corresponds to the actual situation.

Coherence - internal

Statistics Finland’s other statistics use the data of population statistics as basic information on population. Thus, different statistics of Statistics Finland are consistent with each other as regards population data. Preliminary statistics are also produced on the size of the population. The figures of the preliminary statistics differ from the final statistics, because in the preliminary statistics the waiting period for population change details is shorter.

Source data and data collections

Source data

Finnish population statistics are based on the Population Information System maintained by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency (previously by the Population Register Centre and local register offices).

Data collection

Statistics Finland receives population data from the Population Information System maintained by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency (previously the Population Register Centre) once a year. The transmission of data takes place electronically in a secure environment. The acquisition of data is based on Statistics Finland's position as a statistical authority as decreed in law.

Frequency of data collection

The data for the statistics are collected annually.

Methods

Data compilation

The statistics on population structure are total data. The data for a child's biological mother are imputed as the native language and religion data of children aged 0 if no data have been entered in the Population Information System within the waiting period. A total of 15,555 persons who have probably moved abroad have been removed after analyses of life event details from the population data derived from the Population Information System for the end of 2019. These persons are mostly foreign citizens whose address is unknown and who have not received earned income, capital income, entrepreneurial income, unemployment benefit, pension income, income support or compensation from sickness insurance between 2017 and 2018.

Data validation

Logicality checks between variables are made to the source data. Separately defined error checks are used to examine the correctness of the data. The values of the data variables are compared with the used official classifications.

Principles and outlines

Contact organisation

Statistics Finland

Contact organisation unit

Population and 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

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, 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.
 

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

Statistics Finland’s task is to compile statistics and reports describing conditions in society (Statistics Finland Act of 24 January 1992/48). These also include demographic statistics. Statistics Finland's Rules of Procedure valid at each time specify the Population and Social Statistics department as the producer of population statistics.
The statistics are available in the StatFin database after the release. In addition, statistics on chargeable databases and assignments are available as a charged service.

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 statistics on population structure have been audited.

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.

Statistical experts

Markus Rapo
Senior Statistician
029 551 3238

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

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