1. Persons who voted in Municipal elections 2021

This review examines persons entitled to vote and those who voted in the Municipal elections 2021 according to various background factors. The data on persons entitled to vote and those who voted derive from the voting register of the Election Information System of the Ministry of Justice. The unit-level background data are based on Statistics Finland’s data, such as population, employment and family statistics, and the Register of Completed Education and Degrees. The groups under examination are, on the one hand, all persons entitled to vote in the Municipal elections 2021 and advance voters and, on the other hand, persons entitled to vote and those who voted in the municipalities and voting districts where an electronic voting register was in use in the 2021 elections.

The electronic voting register enables examination of voting turnout in terms of votes cast on the election day. These data provide a complete picture of voting turnout as they can help take into account those who did not vote. This is not possible for the data containing only advance voters. In this review, advance voters refer to all persons that voted in advance throughout the country and all who voted refer to both advance voters and those who voted on the election day in the above-mentioned districts.

The data presented in the review concerning all who voted do not cover the entire country or all persons entitled to vote. In this review, all who voted refer to those who voted in those districts on which data were available. The data presented in this review have not been edited in any way, for example, by weighting the data based on background factors, but the breakdowns are presented as they are in the data. In other words, the data presented on all who voted in a particular area only apply to the municipalities, voting districts and persons entitled to vote for which data were available.

Analysed data

The analyses of the review include two separate but partly overlapping voter groups. The following terms are used for these voter groups in the text, tables and figures of the review:

  1. Group “Advance voters” that cover all persons who voted in advance in the Municipal elections throughout the country.

  2. Group “All who voted in the areas” that cover both advance voters and persons who voted on the election day (that is, all who voted) in the voting districts that used the electronic voting register.

The voter groups used in the review are not mutually exclusive. The advance voters of the entire country also include the persons entitled to vote who voted in advance in the above-mentioned areas. All who voted in the areas also include all persons that voted in advance in those particular areas. Thus, the group “advance voters” depicts, just like the name suggests, persons entitled to vote who voted in advance in the entire country, and the group “all who voted in the areas” covers persons who voted on the election day and in advance in a limited number of voting districts.

There were 4,460,299 persons entitled to vote in the Municipal elections 2021. Of these persons entitled to vote, 1,474,538, or 33.1 per cent of all persons entitled to vote, voted in advance. The voting districts where data on voting on the actual election day are available had 1,953,834 persons entitled to vote. So complete voting data are available for 43.8 per cent of persons entitled to vote.

All unit-level background data cannot be linked to all persons entitled to vote. In terms of background variables used in an individual analysis the numbers of persons entitled to vote can be lower than the above-mentioned numbers. In practice, this is visible, for example, in that the distributions presented in the figures and tables may vary slightly by background variable.

Data coverage

The voting districts and municipalities for which all voting data were received are not divided entirely equally on the level of the whole country. Data on voting on the actual election day were available from 152 municipalities, from 99 municipalities for the whole municipality, that is, from all voting districts and from 53 municipalities from some of the voting districts.

Except for the constituency of Helsinki, voting data on the election day were available from all constituencies. However, the coverage of the data varies by constituency. The most comprehensive data were available from the constituency of Central Finland, on 84.6 per cent of persons entitled to vote in the constituency. Data were also more comprehensive than for the entire country in the constituencies of Oulu (78.9% of persons entitled to vote), Lapland (71.2%), Pirkanmaa (60.4%), Satakunta (57.8%), Uusimaa (51.8%) and Vaasa (44.0%). Voting data on the election day were not available from any voting district in the constituency of Helsinki. In other words, the data do not contain at all voting data on the election day of persons entitled to vote in the constituency of Helsinki. (See Appendix table 1)

Appendix table 2 examines the background factors of persons entitled to vote in the entire country and in the areas with complete voting data. In the Municipal elections 2021, the average age of persons entitled to vote was 50.9. In this respect, the persons entitled to vote in certain areas do not considerably differ from those entitled to vote in the entire country. Of all persons entitled to vote, men represented 49.0 per cent in the whole country, in practice, as many as in the areas.

The median for the disposable income of persons entitled to vote in the whole country was slightly higher than that of persons entitled to vote in the areas. The difference was slightly under EUR 300 per year.

As regards the level of education, the examined areas do not essentially differ from the whole country. In the whole country, persons entitled to vote were, on average, slightly more highly educated than in the examined areas. In practice, the difference is visible only in the groups of those with upper secondary level qualifications and at least higher tertiary degrees. In the whole country, there were 1.4 percentage points fewer persons with upper secondary level qualifications and 1.4 percentage points more persons with at least higher tertiary degrees than in the examined areas. As regards education, the absence of the constituency of Helsinki, and of Turku and Espoo from the data has an impact on the distributions of the data.

Differences between all persons entitled to vote and persons entitled to vote in the areas were small when it comes to main type of activity categories. In all groups of main type of activity, the difference between the whole country and areas was under 0.5 percentage points. The areas had slightly more (1.5 percentage points) Finnish-speaking persons entitled to vote than the whole country, which is partly connected to the fact that certain large towns were not included in the data.

There are some differences in parties’ support in the Municipal elections 2021 between the areas and the whole country. Support for the Centre Party of Finland, the Finns Party and the Social Democratic Party was slightly higher in the areas than in the whole country. Correspondingly, support for the Coalition Party and the Green League was lower in the areas than in the whole country. There were no significant differences in the support of other parties between the areas and the whole country.

The factors presented in this Section and in Appendix tables 1 and 2 should be considered when generalising the data obtained with the electronic voting register on all who voted in the areas to relate to the whole country.

Age and sex

In the Municipal elections 2021, a total of 1,474,538 persons entitled to vote voted in advance, which represents 33.1 per cent of all persons entitled to vote living in Finland. The advance voting percentage reported by Statistics Finland is 60.0 per cent. The advance voting percentage is derived by calculating the share of advance voters among those having voted. In this review, persons who voted are examined in relation to persons entitled to vote, so the percentages given are lower than the advance voting percentage.

In the voting districts where all voting data were available, a total of 53.6 per cent entitled to vote cast their vote. In these areas, 32.8 per cent of persons entitled to vote voted in advance and 20.8 per cent of persons entitled to vote voted on the election day.

Age clearly has an impact on voting turnout. The share of advance voters in the whole country among persons entitled to vote exceeded 30 per cent at the age of 53, after which the share grows faster than earlier. Advance voting was most common among persons aged 75, of whom 52.2 per cent voted in advance. The share of advance voters fell under 30 per cent among persons aged 90. (Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Share of those who voted among persons entitled to vote by age in the Municipal election 2021, %

Figure 1. Share of those who voted among persons entitled to vote by age in the Municipal election 2021, %

The share of all who voted among persons entitled to vote in those areas where voting data on the election day were also obtained gives a more comprehensive picture of the phenomena than advance voting. The voting percentage of persons aged 18 was 40.9 per cent in these areas in the 2021 elections. The voting percentage drops to 32.5 per cent in the group of persons aged 21. After this, the voting percentage grew fairly evenly to 56.0 per cent in the age group of those aged 45, after which the growth is slower. The voting percentage was at its highest in the group of persons aged 73 (69.6%). The voting percentage fell under 60 per cent in the group of those aged 82, while the level of those aged 21 was below in the age group of 92-year-olds. (Figure 1.)

Women voted more actively in advance than men both in the whole country and in the areas, apart from the two oldest examined age groups. In the whole country, 35.2 per cent of women entitled to vote voted in advance, 4.4 percentage points more than men.

The voting percentage that takes into account all persons who voted is also higher for women. In the areas, 55.0 per cent of women voted, which was 2.8 percentage points higher than for men. Examined by age group, women voted more actively than men in all age groups except for the 65 age group and older age groups. The biggest difference in voting activity between the sexes was found in the youngest age groups. Women's voting percentage was nearly ten percentage points higher in the 18 to 19 age group than men's. (Table 1.)

Table 1. Share of advance voters and all who voted among persons entitled to vote by sex and age in the Municipal elections 2021, %

Age
group
Total Men Women
Advance
voters,
whole
country
All who
voted,
areas
Advance
voters,
whole
country
All who
voted,
areas
Advance
voters,
whole
country
All who
voted,
areas
Total 33.1 53.6 30.8 52.2 35.2 55.0
18-19 18.9 39.1 15.8 34.5 22.2 44.0
20-24 20.2 34.0 16.2 29.9 24.5 38.5
25-34 22.6 40.2 20.0 37.3 25.5 43.3
35-44 24.8 49.8 22.9 47.5 26.9 52.2
45-54 28.9 56.4 27.0 55.0 30.8 57.9
55-64 37.6 61.4 35.4 60.6 39.8 62.1
65-74 49.9 68.3 48.4 68.6 51.3 68.1
75- 44.1 57.8 47.4 63.9 41.9 53.8

Main type of activity, education and family status

Measured by main type of activity, the number of employed persons was highest among advance voters in the whole country (44.8 per cent). The number of pensioners was slightly lower among advance voters (39.4 per cent). Among advance voters, the number of employed persons was lower and that of pensioners higher than among all persons entitled to vote. In other groups of main type of activity, the share of advance voters was relatively smaller than among all persons entitled to vote. (Figure 2.)

The share of all who voted belonging to all main type of activity groups remained below the relative size of the groups among all persons entitled to vote. (Figure 3.)

Figure 2. Persons entitled to vote and advance voters in the whole country by main type of activity in the Municipal elections 2021, %

Figure 2. Persons entitled to vote and advance voters in the whole country by main type of activity in the Municipal elections 2021, %

Figure 3. Persons entitled to vote and all who voted in the areas by main type of activity in the Municipal elections 2021, %

Figure 3. Persons entitled to vote and all who voted in the areas by main type of activity in the Municipal elections 2021, %

High education increases the probability of voting. Persons entitled to vote with lowest tertiary or higher education voted in advance more than average in the Municipal elections. This is also visible for all who voted in the areas, the voting percentage of persons with higher tertiary or doctorate level education was 24.4 percentage points higher than among all persons entitled to vote and 37.9 percentage points higher than among persons entitled to vote with only basic level qualifications.

In nearly all educational groups voting turnout grew with age, apart from the youngest and oldest examined age groups. Voting turnout of over 80 per cent was attained among those aged 55 to 64 with at least higher tertiary education and those aged 65 to 74 with lower university level degrees. (Table 2.)

When interpreting Table 2 it should be noted that lowest tertiary level qualifications decrease in the population and no new qualifications are completed in Finland in this category, so the age structure of the educational group differs clearly from other groups. Lowest tertiary level education covers qualifications above upper secondary level that are not university of applied sciences degrees.

Table 2. Share of advance voters and all who voted among persons entitled to vote by age and level of education in the Municipal elections 2021, %

Total Lower
secondary
Upper
secondary
Lowest
tertiary
Lower
tertiary
Higher
tertiary,
doctorate
Total Advance
voters,
whole
country
33.1 25.7 28.5 47.3 37.7 49.4
All who
voted,
areas
53.6 40.1 48.5 71.4 65.1 78.0
18-24 Advance
voters,
whole
country
19.9 16.8 22.1 .. 41.3 ..
All who
voted,
areas
35.4 32.9 37.0 .. 60.8 ..
25-34 Advance
voters,
whole
country
22.6 10.8 17.3 16.8 32.6 44.9
All who
voted,
areas
40.2 18.2 34.9 28.7 56.8 69.8
35-44 Advance
voters,
whole
country
24.8 12.3 19.3 24.7 29.4 40.0
All who
voted,
areas
49.8 23.4 42.5 54.7 60.9 72.8
45-54 Advance
voters,
whole
country
28.9 15.7 24.1 32.6 33.7 43.4
All who
voted,
areas
56.4 30.3 49.3 64.2 67.0 78.9
55-64 Advance
voters,
whole
country
37.6 24.0 33.3 43.9 45.3 55.3
All who
voted,
areas
61.4 41.4 56.4 70.7 74.2 82.7
65-74 Advance
voters,
whole
country
49.9 38.9 47.1 60.3 64.3 69.4
All who
voted,
areas
68.3 56.4 66.3 79.3 84.1 87.9
75- Advance
voters,
whole
country
44.1 35.7 45.8 57.8 62.3 68.2
All who
voted,
areas
57.8 48.7 61.2 73.0 77.4 82.5

The family status of persons who voted is examined by means of limited family status groups. Attention is paid to married or cohabiting couples (partnerships) and those without a family, the number of children and the age of persons entitled to vote.

Those in partnerships voted in the areas clearly more than those without a family, the voting percentage of married or cohabiting couples was over 15 percentage points higher than that of those without a family. The voting percentage of those living in a partnership with children aged under 18 was over nine per cent lower than that of those whose children were aged over 18. The voting turnout of parents of one-parent families remained at 41.2 per cent.

When examining the voting turnout of young people aged 18 to 24, we can see that the voting turnout of those living at home (with their parents) was slightly higher than of those of the same age not belonging to families. Those not belonging to a family include both those living alone and with another person or other persons. The difference in the groups’ voting turnout in the areas was five percentage points.

An age group specific examination of all who voted does not significantly change the picture of the effect of family status. As a rule, the voting percentage grew in all family status groups by age, apart from the oldest age group of people aged 75 and over. For the family status, the group “Other” includes those aged over 24 living at home, parents of one-parent families living with their adult child, the institutional population and unclassified persons and those whose family status is unknown. (Figure 4., Table 3.)

Figure 4. Share of those who voted among persons entitled to vote by age in certain family status groups in the Municipal elections 2021, %

Figure 4. Share of those who voted among persons entitled to vote by age in certain family status groups in the Municipal elections 2021, %

Table 3. Share of advance voters in the whole country and all who voted in the areas by family status in the Municipal elections 2019, %

Total Partner-
ship
Partner-
ship,
no
children
Partner-
ship,
children
aged
under 18
Partner-
ship,
no
children
aged
under 18
One-
parent
family,
children
aged
under 18
Without
a family
Other
Total Advance
voters,
whole
country
33.2 36.1 41.9 25.9 37.3 22.6 32.4 23.7
All
voters,
areas
53.7 61.3 63.1 57.2 66.5 41.2 46.0 36.8
18-24 Advance
voters,
whole
country
19.9 18.4 19.4 11.0 .. 8.0 22.3 13.4
All
voters,
areas
35.5 33.9 34.7 28.1 .. 13.4 33.1 18.4
25-34 Advance
voters,
whole
country
22.7 23.4 27.1 18.7 .. 12.9 23.8 18.3
All
voters,
areas
40.3 45.4 47.2 43.4 .. 24.3 36.7 31.5
35-44 Advance
voters,
whole
country
24.9 25.7 28.2 25.1 18.5 21.4 24.8 19.1
All
voters,
areas
50.0 55.3 50.6 56.5 42.1 39.9 39.8 31.7
45-54 Advance
voters,
whole
country
29.0 29.7 29.6 29.7 30.1 28.3 28.1 24.2
All
voters,
areas
56.6 61.9 55.0 65.4 61.7 51.7 44.7 40.7
55-64 Advance
voters,
whole
country
37.7 39.5 40.5 34.7 38.6 33.0 34.9 31.5
All
voters,
areas
61.5 66.8 65.7 69.5 69.5 57.0 51.6 47.8
65-74 Advance
voters,
whole
country
49.9 53.0 53.6 42.4 46.2 37.4 44.8 36.7
All
voters,
areas
68.4 73.6 73.8 72.7 71.4 62.3 59.2 49.5
75- Advance
voters,
whole
country
44.1 50.9 51.4 .. 41.0 .. 39.1 23.5
All
voters,
areas
57.9 67.9 68.2 .. 61.2 .. 49.9 30.5

Income level and occupation

The income level of those who voted and of persons entitled to vote is examined with the help of disposable monetary income. Income data derive from the latest taxation data from 2019. Disposable monetary income refers to monetary income after taxes. This consist of earned income, property income, benefits in kind and transfer income.

In the data of the review, the income of persons entitled to vote is divided into deciles. Income deciles are derived by arranging persons entitled to vote by income and by dividing the group into ten equal parts. The groups formed in this way each have around 444,000 persons entitled to vote for all persons entitled to vote in the whole country. In areas from which data were received on voting on the election day as well, the groups have around 195,000 persons entitled to vote each.

For the whole country, income data are missing for some 21,000 persons entitled to vote. In the data for areas containing election day votes, the income level was missing for some 7,400 persons entitled to vote. The median for the disposable income of all persons entitled to vote was around EUR 22,300, in the examined areas the corresponding median income was EUR 22,100. The disposable income of persons entitled to vote in the whole country belonging to the highest income decile was at least EUR 41,372 and in the examined areas it was EUR 39,991 per year. The income for those belonging to the lowest income decile was at most EUR 9,422 for the whole country and EUR 9,431 per year in the areas. (Table 4.)

Table 4. Lowest limits for the income deciles of persons entitled to vote in the Municipal elections 2021, EUR

Decile All persons
entitled to vote
Persons
entitled
to vote
in areas
1st decile 0 0
2nd decile 9,423 9,432
3rd decile 13,513 13,478
4th decile 16,230 16,135
5th decile 19,095 18,896
6th decile 22,341 22,057
7th decile 25,531 25,190
8th decile 28,836 28,373
9th decile 33,309 32,596
10th decile 41,372 39,991

On the level of the whole country, the level of income as a whole did not have much effect on advance voting. In the lowest income deciles, advance voting was relatively lower and in the highest deciles higher than in the other income brackets. From the third income decile to the eight decile, there were no major changes in the rate of advance voting, the share of advance voting in these categories varies from 32.3 to 35.2 per cent. (Figure 5.)

When examining all who voted in the areas, the effect of income on voting turnout was considerably more evident. As a rule, voting was more common in higher income groups than in lower income groups. In all, 72.7 per cent of those belonging to the highest income decile voted. By contrast, the voting turnout remained at 37.2 per cent in the lowest income decile. Thus, the difference between the voting turnout of the lowest and highest income earners was over 35 percentage points. (Figure 5.)

Figure 5. Share of those who voted among persons entitled to vote by income decile in the Municipal elections 2021, %

Figure 5. Share of those who voted among persons entitled to vote by income decile in the Municipal elections 2021, %

The occupations of those entitled to vote is examined with the Classification of Occupations. The occupation data used is from 2018. The occupation is determined on the last day of the year for persons who, based on their main type of activity, are employed. The occupation data for those entitled to vote in the 2021 Municipal elections are available for around 2,300,000 persons entitled to vote. In the examined areas, the corresponding data is available for some 980,000 persons entitled to vote.

The voting turnout for all persons entitled to vote for whom occupation data is available in the examined areas was 55.6 per cent. Among occupational groups, professionals had the highest voting turnaround, 73.8 per cent. The over 70 per cent level was also exceeded for managers. The voting percentage was lower than average in different employee groups apart from clerical support workers. (Figure 6.)

Measured by occupational group, voting turnout was lowest in elementary occupations, where voting turnout was 38.2 per cent, which is over 17 percentage points below the average of occupational groups. The elementary occupations group includes auxiliary, routine-like jobs that require only little education.

Figure 6. Share of those who voted among persons entitled to vote by occupational group in the Municipal elections 2021, %

Figure 6. Share of those who voted among persons entitled to vote by occupational group in the Municipal elections 2021, %

Foreign background

The background of persons entitled to vote and persons who voted is viewed by means of language and origin. Voting turnout for persons with national languages as their native language was higher among those who voted in the areas than for all persons entitled to vote. In all, 1.5 percentage points more of Finnish and Sami speakers and 12.2 percentage points more of Swedish speakers voted compared to all persons entitled to vote.

In the Municipal elections, the right to vote is tied to residence, that is, there are more persons speaking other than national language as their native language entitled to vote than in the Parliamentary elections, for example. Of all persons entitled to vote, 88.1 per cent were Finnish-speaking, 4.6 per cent Swedish-speaking and 7.2 per cent other language speakers. In the areas for which data were available for all who voted, 89.6 per cent spoke Finnish as their native language, 4.2 per cent Swedish and 6.1 per cent other languages.

Table 5. Share of those who voted among persons entitled to vote by sex and language in the Municipal elections 2021, %

Sex Total Finnish, Sami Swedish Other
language
Advance
voters,
whole
country
All who
voted,
areas
Advance
voters,
whole
country
All who
voted,
areas
Advance
voters,
whole
country
All who
voted,
areas
Advance
voters,
whole
country
All who
voted,
areas
Total 33.1 53.6 34.5 55.1 36.3 65.8 14.3 23.0
Men 30.8 52.2 32.2 53.9 33.3 64.0 14.1 21.6
Women 35.2 55.0 36.6 56.3 39.4 67.7 14.4 24.5

The voting turnout of foreign-language speakers was clearly lower than for those speaking national languages. Of all foreign-language speakers, 14.3 per cent voted in advance in the whole country. Correspondingly, 23.0 per cent of all foreign-language speakers entitled to vote voted in the areas, which was over 32 percentage points lower than for all persons entitled to vote. (Table 5.)

A more detailed examination of the voting turnout of different language groups shows that the highest voting percentage among all votes cast in the areas was found among Swedish speakers (65.8%). Correspondingly, the voting percentage of Finnish and Sami speakers was 55.1 per cent. Figure 7 includes the largest language groups measured by absolute numbers in the areas for which data were also available for election day voting. With this limitation, the voting percentage of foreign-language speakers was highest for German speakers, 47.7 per cent. The voting percentage of other language groups was under 40 per cent. (Figure 7.)

Figure 7. Share of those who voted among persons entitled to vote by language group in the Municipal elections 2021, %

Figure 7. Share of those who voted among persons entitled to vote by language group in the Municipal elections 2021, %

Examined by age group and origin, young people’s voting turnout was lower than in older age groups both among persons of Finnish background and of foreign background. This is visible both among advance voters in the whole country and all who voted in the areas. For all who voted in the areas, the difference between voting turnout among persons of Finnish and foreign background was around 30 percentage points. The voting turnout of persons with foreign background was under 30 per cent in all except the two oldest age groups. (Table 6.)

Table 6. Share of those who voted among persons entitled to vote by origin and age in the Municipal elections 2021, %

Age group Total population Persons with
Finnish background
Persons with
foreign background
Advance
voters,
whole
country
All who
voted,
in areas
Advance
voters,
whole
country
All who
voted,
in areas
Advance
voters,
whole
country
All who
voted,
in areas
Total 33.1 53.6 34.5 55.6 14.5 23.3
18-24 19.9 35.4 20.5 36.7 12.4 17.4
25-34 22.7 40.2 23.9 42.6 13.2 19.4
35-44 24.8 49.8 26.5 53.2 13.4 22.3
45-54 28.9 56.4 30.3 58.9 14.3 25.7
55-64 37.6 61.4 38.8 62.8 16.3 28.7
65-74 49.9 68.3 50.6 69.0 21.6 34.0
75- 44.1 57.8 44.4 58.1 26.3 38.9

Source: Municipal Elections 2021, Review of voting, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Sami Fredriksson 029 551 2696, Jaana Asikainen 029 551 3506, vaalit@stat.fi

Head of Department in charge: Hannele Orjala


Updated 13.7.2021

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Municipal elections [e-publication].
ISSN=2323-1114. background analysis of candidates and elected persons 2021, 1. Persons who voted in Municipal elections 2021 . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 17.10.2021].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/kvaa/2021/05/kvaa_2021_05_2021-07-13_kat_001_en.html