Published: 31 January 2014

Ratio of total general government expenditure to gross domestic product grew in 2012

The ratio of total general government expenditure to gross domestic product was 56.7 per cent in 2012. In 2011, the ratio was 55.1 per cent. Total general government expenditure grew by 4.8 per cent from 2011 and amounted to EUR 109.1 billion. The function groups with the biggest expenditure were social protection and health, whose combined expenditure was over one-half of total general government expenditure.

Consolidated total expenditures by function, general government 2011–2012*

Function Year Million euro Ratio to GDP, %
G0 All functions 2011 104 049 55,1
2012 109 071 56,7
G01 General public services 2011 13 827 7,3
2012 14 280 7,4
G02 Defence 2011 2 753 1,5
2012 3 108 1,6
G03 Public order and safety 2011 2 825 1,5
2012 2 933 1,5
G04 Economic affairs 2011 9 129 4,8
2012 9 329 4,9
G05 Environmental protection 2011 471 0,2
2012 486 0,3
G06 Housing and community amenities 2011 1 012 0,5
2012 871 0,5
G07 Health 2011 14 841 7,9
2012 15 743 8,2
G08 Recreation, culture and religion 2011 2 336 1,2
2012 2 419 1,3
G09 Education 2011 12 074 6,4
2012 12 213 6,3
G10 Social protection 2011 44 781 23,7
2012 47 689 24,8

In 2012, the biggest general government expenditure item was social protection, on which expenditure amounted to some EUR 47.7 billion, or 24.8 per cent of GDP. The second biggest expenditure item was health, where total expenditure was EUR 15.7 billion and 8.2 per cent of GDP. Expenditure directed to social security grew most, in total by EUR 2.9 billion. Most of the increase in social protection expenditure is explained by the growth in income transfers related to old age, i.e. pensions.

The biggest function sub-group is still old age, which includes paid employment pensions as the largest item. The next biggest sub-group is sickness and disability. The highest increases were recorded in the function group of old age, and outpatient and hospital services in health expenditure. In several sub-groups, expenditure also decreased slightly, for example, expenditure in housing development, in agriculture, forestry and fishing, and in executive and legislative organs.

Central government accounted for 27 per cent of consolidated total general government expenditure. The share of local government was 40 per cent. The share of social security funds in consolidated total expenditure was 32 per cent.

Consumption expenditure grew by 4.7 per cent and amounted to EUR 48.3 billion. The ratio of consumption expenditure to GDP was 25.1 per cent. The biggest function group of consumption expenditure was health. Consumption expenditure depicts current expenses incurred by general government from the production of services.

General government total expenditure here refers to consolidated general government expenditure. Consolidated expenditure excludes property expenditure, capital transfers and current transfers between general government sub-sectors, e.g. income transfers from central government to local government. Since total expenditure is by nature gross expenditure, in the case of the local government sector it includes, for instance, acquisitions made by municipalities from their own municipal enterprises. These acquisitions are correspondingly included in the sector's total revenue. General government comprises central government, local government, employment pension schemes and other social security funds.

Source: National Accounts, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Jukka Hytönen 09 1734 3484,

Director in charge: Leena Storgårds

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Updated 31.1.2014

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): General government expenditure by function [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-0828. 2012. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 22.11.2019].
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