Concepts and definitions


Prior to 1997, changes in the statutory order of succession were classified as adopted children in the population statistics, although no actual adoptions were made. From the 1997 statistics, only actual adoptions have been recorded as adoptions.

Country of birth

All persons entered in the Population Register are indicated a country of birth, which is determined on the basis of the mother's permanent home country at the time of birth. This means, for example, that the country of birth of Estonian immigrants born before Estonian independence is the Soviet Union. Similarly, the country of birth of people who were born in areas that Finland has subsequently ceded is Finland even though the area no longer is Finnish territory. Country of birth is indicated according to the form of government at the time of birth.

Marital status

The information on marital status is derived from the Population Information System of the Population Register Centre. It should be noted that common-law marriage or cohabiting is not a marital status. People representing all marital status categories may be cohabiting, including those who are still officially married.

The current divorce regulations no longer recognise the concept of legal separation. Those persons who are legally separated on the basis of the old divorce provisions prior to 1 January 1988 and still living apart have been slotted under married persons in the statistics.

The possibility to register partnerships started in Finland on 1 March 2002 and ended on the last day of February 2017 (Act to amend the Act of Registered Partnerships 250/2016). Starting from the beginning of March 2017, same-sex couples have been able to enter into marriage (156/2015). Same-sex couples had been able to register their partnership in Finland as of 1 March 2002.

The amendment to the Marriage Act that entered into force on 1 March 2017 didn't change the classification of marital status.

For reasons of data protection, in municipal tables those living in a registered partnership are classified together with married persons, as are those divorced or widowed from a registered partnership with divorced and widowed persons.

The classification of marital status is as follows:

  • Unmarried
  • Married
  • Divorced
  • Widowed
  • Partner in a registered partnership
  • Divorced from a registered partnership
  • Widowed after a registered partnership


The information about sex has been obtained from the Population Information System.

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Adoptions [e-publication].
ISSN=1797-738X. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 5.8.2021].
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