Preliminary population statistics: documentation of statistics
Basic data of the statistics
Unit of measure
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 2000, the regional division of the statistical reference year has been used in the preliminary population statistics.
Frequency of dissemination
Accuracy, reliability and timeliness
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 a sample survey on the correctness of address data. Around 11,000 persons are 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.
Incorrect addresses influence population statistics by municipality only if the incorrect address is in a different municipality than the correct one. Only part of the incorrect addresses are in the wrong municipality.
Accuracy and reliability
In emigration, there is a difference in the number of cases between the preliminary statistics and the final statistics. In the final statistics, individuals who, based on a “signs of life approach”, can be said to be highly likely to have moved abroad are added to emigration. Such individuals are primarily foreign citizens who have not submitted a statutory emigration notification, and regarding whom registers contain no indications of them factually residing in Finland. In 2021, a total of just under 1,200 migrations were added to the final emigration statistics as a register removal.
Data revision - practice
Coherence and comparability
Comparability - geographical
The regional division of the first day of the statistical reference year is used in the preliminary population statistics. The final population statistics of the previous year are, in turn, produced with the regional division of the year following the statistical reference year. Thus, the data of the preliminary statistics concerning regional mergers are directly comparable with the final figures of the previous year, not with the preliminary figures of the previous year.
The concepts of the preliminary population statistics do not differ from the concepts and classifications of international recommendations.
The time a person must live in the country before being accepted as an immigrant varies in the statistical systems of different countries. Therefore, it is difficult to compare the statistics on international migration in different countries to each other.
Comparability - over time
The regional division of the first day of the statistical reference year is used in the preliminary population statistics. The final population statistics of the previous year are, in turn, produced with the regional division of the year following the statistical reference year. Thus, the data of the preliminary statistics concerning regional mergers are directly comparable with the final figures of the previous year, and not with the preliminary figures of the previous year.
Coherence - cross domain
Data tabulated by other organisations than Statistics Finland are also produced monthly for different organisations from the Population Information System. The figures differ from Statistics Finland’s monthly preliminary data. The difference is due to different processing methods and the fact that the organisations producing the data tabulate data according to the register situation at the turn of the month, while Statistics Finland waits 8 to 10 days from the end of the month for notifications of changes before producing preliminary statistics on the situation at the end of the previous month.
Coherence - sub-annual and annual statistics
When the numbers of population changes are compared over the same period in the annual and preliminary statistics, the migration generated in the final statistics must be taken into account in international migration. The final statistics include generated immigrations for persons for whom no notification on immigration has been received but who have been registered as permanently resident in Finland. In the final statistics, emigrations have been generated for persons who, after examining signs of activity, have been deduced as having probably moved abroad. As a rule, these are persons born abroad without address data and who do not have economic activity in Finland. Because no generations are made in the preliminary population statistics, they increase the difference between the figures of the preliminary and final statistics.
Coherence - internal
The final emigration statistics include generated emigration (usually over one thousand cases) which derive from removals in the data on population structure. Persons without any signs of activity in any register are removed annually from the population structure data.
Source data and data collections
Frequency of data collection
Cost and burden
Documentation on methodology
The Population Information System is maintained by storing in the system data on all population changes occurring in the population residing in the country. Information on decisions made by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency may be added to the data. Statistics Finland receives the population change data from the Population Information System weekly.
After the end of the statistical reference month, notifications of changes are still waited for 8 to 10 days before the preliminary statistics are produced. The main principle in waiting is as follows: The waiting period is 10 days if the 10th day of the month following the statistical reference month falls on a weekday. The waiting period is nine days if that day is a Saturday and eight days if that day is a Sunday. The production of preliminary population statistics is started in the week after the week including the 10th day of the month following the statistical reference month.
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
A separate compound statistics on population changes are produced annually from final data.
Data on preliminary population statistics are also delivered annually to Eurostat.
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.
The formats for data delivery are the data use through a remote access service, the use of the data at Statistics Finland’s Research Laboratory and the sample data handover to the researcher. The compilation and handover of the data take place in accordance with the legislation governing statistics and the data protection and secrecy policies defined therein. The handover of any data requires a user licence.
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 preliminary population statistics and their production process were audited in 2020.
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)
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