Published: 23 May 2014

Number of families with children is falling further

The number of families with underage children has been falling slowly over the past ten years. The average number of children was 1.84 in 2013. The figure has remained stable, although the number has declined. Many factors have an effect on the number of families with children, such as the sizes of age groups being born and those turning 18, as well as international migration.

Number of children in families with underage children in 1950–2013

Number of children in families with underage children in 1950–2013

In 2013, there were a total of 1,057,000 underage children in families with children. The trend of the number of families with one, two and three children is falling. In contrast, the number of families with at least four children has remained fairly stable. Forty-three per cent of the families with children have one child and 38 per cent of them have two children. Thirteen per cent of families with underage children have three children and five per cent at least four children aged under 18. The family statistics describe the size of families in Finland at a given moment and thus do not concern with the eventual number of children in families.

The total number of families with children in Finland was 576,000 at the end of 2013. The number is 2,700 lower than in the previous year. Forty per cent of the population belong to a family with children. The commonest family type, which 60 per cent of the families with children belong to, continues to be a married couple with children. Nineteen per cent of the families with children were families of cohabiting couples. There were almost equally many families of a mother and children, whose share was 18 per cent. The number of families with a father and children continues to be very low, under three per cent. In slightly over 400 families with children, the parents are a registered same-sex couple.

At the end of 2013, the total number of families was 1,471,000. The number has grown by nearly 5,400 families from the previous year. The growth was bigger than in the previous year, when it was 5,200. Altogether 75 per cent of the Finnish population, that is, 4,082,000 persons, belonged to a family. The share of persons who belong to a family has been falling steadily. As late as in 1990, their share of the population was still 82 per cent. Sixty-five per cent of all families were families of married couples. Twenty-two per cent were families of cohabiting couples and 12 per cent were one-parent families. There were slightly over 2,000 families of registered same-sex couples. People living alone numbered 1,100,000.

At the end of 2013, there were 53,000 reconstituted families in Finland. The number of reconstituted families has remained almost unchanged from the year before. Roughly one-half of the parents of the reconstituted families were cohabiting and one-half were married. A reconstituted family is a family with at least one child aged under 18 of just one of the parents. There were 76,000 of such children.

Families by type in 1990–2013

Type of family      1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2011 2012 2013 Change    2012–2013
Families total 1 365 341 1 382 970 1 401 963 1 426 002 1 455 073 1 460 570 1 465 733 1 471 085 5 352
Married couple without children 364 452 395 953 436 019 481 209 513 889 518 550 523 221 525 933 2 712
Married couple with children 640 062 579 578 514 868 468 266 446 433 442 257 439 194 434 571 -4 623
Cohabiting couple no children 123 471 135 996 160 132 180 590 195 967 200 171 203 334 208 264 4 930
Cohabiting couple with children 65 896 85 309 102 581 112 847 117 254 118 054 118 136 120 040 1 904
Mother and children 147 297 159 063 159 432 153 024 149 651 149 196 149 143 149 110 -33
Father and children 24 161 27 071 28 931 29 238 30 278 30 534 30 714 30 955 241
Registered male couple 1) .. .. .. 398 706 773 829 905 76
Registered female couple 1) .. .. .. 430 895 1 035 1 162 1 307 145
Family population 4 101 922 4 093 038 4 053 850 4 037 753 4 065 168 4 069 930 4 075 094 4 081 903 6 809
Population 31.12. 4 998 478 5 116 829 5 181 115 5 255 580 5 375 276 5 401 267 5 426 674 5 451 270 24 596
Proportion of family population 82,1 80,0 78,2 76,8 75,6 75,4 75,1 74,9 -0,2
Averige size of family 3,00 2,96 2,89 2,83 2,79 2,79 2,78 2,77 –0,01
1) Families of the type “registered couple with children” numbered 467.

Source: Population and Cause of Death Statistics, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Marjut Pietiläinen 09 1734 2798, Timo Nikander 09 1734 3250, vaesto.tilasto@stat.fi

Director in charge: Riitta Harala

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Updated 23.5.2014

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Families [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-3231. 2013. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 12.7.2020].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/perh/2013/perh_2013_2014-05-23_tie_001_en.html