Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Individual-based data collections, Data collections from enterprises

Individual-based data collections

Why have I been selected for the survey?

Individual-based data collections are needed to produce reliable statistical data on Finnish residents and their life situations.

You were selected when a group of people living in Finland were drawn randomly to take part in the survey. The selection has been made with statistical methods. In the survey you represent other persons of your age living in your area.

What are my answers needed for?

We are interested in your experiences and opinions because you represent your area and age group in the survey. We want to ensure that all population groups are heard in the survey.

Every response improves the reliability of the data we collect. This way we ensure that the research results and compiled statistics are of high quality and give a correct picture of the studied subject.

By participating in the survey you can influence what kind of picture researchers and decision-makers get of the situation of people living in Finland both nationally and internationally. By answering the survey you can ensure that you and other people in a similar life situation will be considered in decision-making, because, depending on the survey, you may represent about 4,000 other people living in Finland.

Can you select someone else to respond instead of me?

No, we cannot. For statistical reasons we cannot replace you with another person. The respondents are drawn from Statistics Finland’s database on the population of Finland as exhaustively as possible so that they represent different areas, age groups or sexes equally. It is not possible to change the respondent, but if you refuse to respond, you are simply excluded from the data. This reduces the accuracy and reliability of the results especially in the population groups you represent as a respondent. For this reason, each response is important and cannot be replaced in any way.

The topic of the survey does not apply to me. Do I have to answer?

Your responses are important even if you do not have experiences of the studied subject.

For example, in the Labour Force Survey it is important to collect data from the employed, unemployed and the inactive population. Similarly, in the Adult Education Survey it is important to know how many have not participated in adult education.

Is it mandatory to participate in the survey?

Participation is voluntary. However, in order to ensure correctness of the data your participation is of key importance.

From where has Statistics Finland obtained my contact information?

Statistics Finland gets the address data of the persons selected to the survey from Statistics Finland’s database based on the Population Information System. Other contact details, such as your and your household members’ personal phone numbers, come from publicly available sources, such as operators.

Statistics Finland is a central government authority to whom the same direct marketing bans do not apply as to commercial research institutions, for example. Statistics Finland is also entitled to receive for surveys the contact information of the persons who have a ban on direct marketing.

We may also try to contact the respondent through other adult members of the household. More information on the page How are the interviewees selected.

Does Statistics Finland pass on my contact information?

Your contact information will never be released or sold outside Statistics Finland.

Does Statistics Finland record calls/interviews?

Statistics Finland does not record any calls or interviews.

Who will see my data/answers?

The data are handled at Statistics Finland only by those persons who need them in their work. Every person employed by Statistics Finland has signed a pledge of secrecy.

Participation in the survey is voluntary and the data collected are treated as strictly confidential. Only data necessary for the survey are inquired on the questionnaire and in the interview and always on the most general level possible.

How do I know that my answers will remain confidential?

It is safe to respond to Statistics Finland’s inquiries and give data. We always handle your data with due care for data protection. All the information provided by you in the survey is confidential. The data given by the data providers are appropriately protected at all stages of statistics production. The results will be published in the form of tables and graphs from which the answers of individual persons cannot be identified. Further information about confidentiality.

Every person employed by Statistics Finland has signed a pledge of secrecy. Only persons that participate in compiling statistics handle the data provided by an individual respondent.

Only data necessary for the survey are inquired on the questionnaire and in the interview and always on the most general level possible. To facilitate answering, the collected data are supplemented with register data. The data to be combined may be sex, age, education, language, nationality and municipality of residence. The data are processed so that you cannot be identified from the completed statistical data.

Can my data be released for investigation or surveillance?

Data collected for statistical purposes may never be released for use in administrative decision-making, investigation, surveillance, legal proceedings or similar purposes. Statistics Finland is not allowed to release your data to the Tax Administration or the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, for example. Individual-based data collected for statistical purposes are confidential.

How are the data used for research purposes?

The Statistics Act obliges Statistics Finland to extend the use of the data collected for statistical purposes in scientific studies and statistical surveys on social conditions.

Data collected for statistical purposes can be used in scientific research and statistical surveys. Permission to use can be granted only for such data from which the respondents cannot be directly identified.

The researcher mainly processes the data in Statistics Finland’s remote access system, in which case the data are controlled by Statistics Finland. Researchers handling Statistics Finland’s data always sign a pledge of secrecy.

Further information about research use of data is available on the Research Services’ microdata pages.

Is responding safe?

It is safe to respond to Statistics Finland's inquiries and release data. We always handle your data with due care for data protection.

Statistics Finland has a statutory obligation to protect personal data and enterprise data released for statistical purposes. We use methods that enable us to protect confidential data. The data are used for statistical purposes in accordance with the Statistics Act. We ensure data protection at every stage of the process.

Is it safe to respond online?

The respondent logs in to Statistics Finland's data collection forms with a user ID and password that are supplied to the respondent in the accompanying letter. In some collections use can also be made of the identification, the joint identification service for the entire public administration, which enables secure electronic identification. The Digital and Population Data Services Agency is responsible for the identification.

If the form for the collection of individual-based and household data already has information on the respondent or their household, you can log in to the form only with identification.

How do I know that the data collection is carried out by Statistics Finland? How do I know if the message I received comes from Statistics Finland?

Statistics Finland sends the person selected for the survey a letter in advance containing information on what data will be collected, how the data are collected and for what the data will be used. At the same time, you will be informed about the data protection of your personal data.

Once the data collection has started, you can be contacted later by telephone, email or text messages. Your contact information is obtained either from Statistics Finland’s database based on the Population Information System or from telecommunications operators.

You can make sure that the letter or message you received is appropriate, because you can find all the inquiries made by Statistics Finland at Statistics Finland never asks for your personal details or other information by email or text message.

In interview surveys, the statistical interviewer will contact you after sending the letter to conduct the interview or agree on a time for the interview. He or she introduces him/herself and the survey to which the interview pertains. If the interview is to be carried out face-to-face, you will recognise the interviewer by Statistics Finland's employee card. You can also check the interviewer's identity by telephone from his/her supervisor. More detailed information can be found on page

Statistics Finland also conducts commissioned inquiries on behalf of other research institutions but also in these cases the cover letters contain the contact information of both Statistics Finland and the organisation that has commissioned the research.

How do I give answers in the interview survey?

There is no need to prepare in advance for the interview in most surveys, and participation does not require any special knowledge or skills.

During the interview, the interviewer asks you questions and you can often select your response from the existing alternatives. There are no right or wrong answers.

Can the interview be conducted somewhere else than at my home?

Yes. The interview can be carried out in some other peaceful place, for instance in a library or café.

Where can I find additional information about the data collection or survey?

You can get additional information from the contact person of the statistics or survey. Their contact information can be found at the end of the letter you were sent. You can also find more information on the website concerning the data collection.

Why are inquiries conducted?

Statistics Finland collects data to compile statistics and surveys describing society.

People are asked for information and opinions on matters for which no data are available from administrative records and registers. Such topics include, for example, time use, working conditions and household consumption.

How does Statistics Finland collect data?

Statistics Finland collects data with postal and web inquiries and by interviewing people face-to-face or by telephone. The data are also collected through web scraping, i.e. programmatically from web pages. Principles of web scraping at Statistics Finland.

The data collection method varies depending on the statistics and the topic of the study. In some data collections, the respondent can select the response method that best suits them, for example, a telephone interview or responding on the Internet. Additional information on data collection methods.

For what are the data I give used?

The collected data are used to compile statistics and studies, which are utilised in social decision-making. For example, municipalities use statistical data when they plan the locations of day-care centres, schools and health care services in different residential areas. Data are also needed to assess and monitor the effects of decisions that have been made. Enterprises and private individuals also make decisions based on statistical data.

Public administration, economic life researchers, the media, enterprises and organisations, as well as private individuals utilise the statistics and studies.

 Data collections from enterprises

Is the inquiry statutory and mandatory? Who has the obligation to provide data?

Enterprises have an obligation to provide data on matters separately defined in the Statistics Act. The fact that the inquiry is statutory is explained in the accompanying letter. In order to obtain a reliable overview, data from every enterprise are important. Exemption from the obligation to provide data must be sought in writing. The application must be addressed to the Registrar's Office of Statistics Finland.

Why does the law oblige to answer?

The purpose of the obligation to provide data as laid out in the Statistics Act is to ensure the availability of reliable statistical data.

The purpose of the Statistics Act is to create preconditions for an efficient and uniform national statistical service that takes into account both national and international data needs. According to the EU's statistical regulations, Statistics Finland is obliged to produce statistical data on Finland for social decision-making and planning, and to fulfil the obligations related to international statistical co-operation.

The collected data are confidential. Can you guarantee that the data remain confidential?

The Statistics Act obliges Statistics Finland to treat the data as confidential. The collected data will be used for the production of statistics. An individual supplier’s data cannot be identified from the published statistics. Data concerning an individual supplier will not be released to other authorities but may be used for scientific research purposes. Even then, the data have been processed to prevent the identification of their individual suppliers.

What will the respondent receive in return? What direct benefits will I get from participation and from statistics?

Respondents that are obliged to provide data receive feedback information on the results of the data collection. The feedback information contains, for example, comparison data between your enterprise's results and other enterprises in your industry or area. The statistics compiled from the collected data also serve the information needs of the data suppliers. Therefore, data that are as truthful and accurate as possible are in everyone's interest.

What type of data are inquired?

The inquired data are data that are necessary for the compilation of statistics and that are not readily available from administrative registers or other sources.

What do you do with the collected data? What are the answers used for?

The collected data form the basic data for statistics production. The collected data are used to create statistics that serve decision-making, create preconditions for research, and help form a reliable overview of society. One data collection can produce data for several different statistics.

Where will the results be published?

The results of the data collection can be viewed directly on the home page of each individual data collection. The statistics are published on Statistics Finland's website under Statistics. In addition, Statistics Finland offers tailored studies, statistical data and survey services, of which you can find more information on our web service under Products and services.

I supply similar data to other authorities. Why can you not use them?

Statistics are always primarily produced from data collected in other contexts. Only necessary data required for statistical production that are not available from elsewhere are collected with direct surveys. If you are positive that you already supply other authorities with the exact same data on a similar timetable, please get in touch with the contact persons of the data collection.

Why are we included in so many inquiries?

The target groups included in the survey are determined based on the objectives of the survey. For example, the largest enterprises in their respective industries are often included in several surveys in order to achieve sufficient coverage by industry. Likewise, municipalities and educational institutes are included in numerous different surveys.

What if I do not have time to respond?

You should start responding to surveys well ahead of the deadline, which means that you can complement the inquiry if necessary before sending the final data. The time spent responding can easily be reduced by carefully reading the provided instructions. The timetable of the data collection can be found on the home page of the data collection.

Can we get more time because the data supplier is on leave or otherwise prevented from answering?

Please contact Statistics Finland and negotiate on a case-by-case basis whether it is possible to give you more time to answer.

How can I find more information about your inquiries and interviews?

This site contains a list of Statistics Finland's data collections. This site provides general information about the data collections, in addition to which each data collection has its own home page where you can find a description of the data collection, more detailed instructions for responding, contact information, and other necessary material. The data collection can, in addition to an alphabetical list, be selected based on the respondent, topic and time. Additional information is also available in the accompanying letter and from the contact persons mentioned on the home page of the data collection.

How are the included enterprises selected? Can you ask some other enterprise?

In most methods, changing the data supplier in the middle of the survey is not possible.

The objectives of the statistical survey determine which target group we are interested in. Usually a sample survey is used instead of a total survey in order to save on the costs and reduce the response burden. In a sample survey respondents are most often selected by random sampling but the sampling probability may vary. In business statistics, the likelihood of larger enterprises to end up as respondents is usually higher than for smaller enterprises. The selection of the sampling method used is affected, for example, by the survey frame, data collection method and costs.

How can I ensure that the data are collected by Statistics Finland and not, for example, a commercial corporation?

In data collections performed by Statistics Finland, each respondent is contacted in writing to provide instructions for the survey. For example, the respondents receive information about the purpose for which the collected data will be used, the procedures used, the data supply obligation and its grounds, as well as all other important factors that affect the provision of data.

I would like to respond to your inquiries online, is this possible?

Many data collections can be filled in online. The home page of the data collection explains what response options are available.

My enterprise should respond to your inquiry, but I have lost the form. How do I find the forms and instructions?

The home page of each data collection contains instructions on responding and other possible support material. If necessary, the contact persons of the data collection can help you with any problems.

Where can I find out which data collections concern my enterprise?

Statistics Finland offers enterprises a service (link to Additional services for enterprises) in which they can check which Statistics Finland’s data collections concern them.

The service includes information on upcoming data collections and their schedules. By offering enterprises advance information about data collections and changes made to them, Statistics Finland aims to facilitate the preparation for and responding to its data collections. Data collection service for enterprises.

Can you remove my enterprise from the survey?

Section 8 of the Statistics Act decrees on the exemption from the obligation to provide data. An application for exemption from the obligation to provide data must be made in writing.

A party obliged to provide data can be exempted from the obligation to provide data either wholly or in part. When seeking an exemption, both the data supplier's opportunities for providing the data in question and the importance of the data for the compilation of statistics and their utilisation must be considered. Unreasonable inconvenience caused to the data supplier refers to putting the respondent in an unequal position with regard to other data suppliers. Grounds for exemption can be, for example, bankruptcy, destruction of bookkeeping data or the fact that the entrepreneur has only just started his/her operations.

From time to time, we receive mail from you for a person that no longer works for our organisation. How can we inform you of our changed contact information?

In terms of surveys and inquiries, the easiest way to report changes is to get in toruch with the contact persons of the data collection whose information is found in the accompanying letter and on the home page of the data collection. If the changed information concerns Statistics Finland's publications or other products, the address and other customer information can also be changed using an online form.

My accounting period does not end until after the deadline for providing data. How does this affect the data collection?

The data collection instructions explain what to do if the accounting period ends after the deadline for providing data. Often the inquiries concern data for the accounting period that ends during the statistical year mentioned in the form. Sometimes the data are collected for the calendar year and not for the accounting period. The best way to clarify the matter is to get in touch with the contact person of the data collection.