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Published: 27 April 2018

Total fertility rate at an all-time low

According to Statistics Finland's data on population changes, the total fertility rate decreased for the seventh year in succession. At the fertility rate prevailing in 2017, a woman would give birth to an average of 1.49 children. The number is an all-time low. The number of children born in 2017 was 50,321.

Total fertility rate in 1900 to 2017

 Total fertility rate in 1900 to 2017

When the number of births is proportioned to women in childbearing age, fertility can be examined. The total fertility rate is commonly used in measuring fertility. It indicates how many children a woman would give birth to calculatorily during her life time if fertility rates remained the same as in the year on which the calculation is based.

The total fertility rate was at an all-time low in 2017, i.e. 1.49 children per woman. The rate was second lowest in 1973, when it was 1.50 children per woman. In the previous year 2016, the total fertility rate was 1.57. Since 1969, the total fertility rate has been below the replacement level, which is 2.1 children per woman.

Compared to the year before, the total fertility rate went down for women of nearly all ages, most clearly for those aged under 30 (Appendix figure 1). In 2017, women who gave birth to their first child were, on average, 29.2 years of age. In 2016, the average age of first-time mothers was 29.1 years and in ten years it has risen by 1.0 years. Correspondingly, the average age of all women that gave birth went up by 0.1 years from the year before, to 30.9 years. Over the past ten years, it has risen by 0.8 years (Table 1).

The number of births has now fallen for seven years in succession. The number of births was 2,493 children, i.e. 4.7 per cent fewer than in 2016.

Live births in 1971 to 2017

Live births in 1971 to 2017

Total fertility rate rose only in the region of Kanta-Häme

The total fertility rate was above the rate for the whole country in 11 regions (Appendix table 1). Measured with the total fertility rate of 2017, most children would be born in the regions of Ostrobothnia: On average, 1.96 children per woman in Central Ostrobothnia, 1.83 children per woman in North Ostrobothnia and 1.82 children per woman in South Ostrobothnia. The lowest total fertility rate of 1.38 would be recorded in the region of Uusimaa and the next lowest, 1.42 children per woman, in Pirkanmaa and in Varsinais-Suomi. The total fertility rate was not above the replacement level in any of the regions in 2017.

Kanta-Häme was the only region where the total fertility rate rose from that of the previous year. It went up from 1.59 to 1.61 children per woman and in relative terms by 1.5 per cent. The total fertility rate declined by over 10 per cent from the previous year in three regions: in Kainuu by 11.0 per cent, in Kymenlaakso by 10.7 per cent and in North Karelia by 10.5 per cent.

Total fertility rate highest in Seinäjoki and lowest in Helsinki

In municipalities with at least 50,000 inhabitants, the total fertility rate was highest in Seinäjoki, where it was 1.79 in the five-year period of 2013 to 2017. The second highest rate was found in Porvoo, 1.76, the third highest in Espoo and in Oulu, 1.74. The figure for the whole country in the five-year period was 1.63.

Respectively, the total fertility rate was lowest in the period of 2013 to 2017 in Helsinki, where it was 1.27. The rate was 1.29 in Turku and 1.34 in Tampere. In a comparison of all municipalities, the total fertility rate in the last mentioned municipalities was also among the lowest.

Number of live births, total fertility rate and mother's mean age by live births in 2008 to 2017

Year 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Number of live births   59 530   60 430   60 980   59 961   59 493   58 134   57 232   55 472 52 814 50 321
Total fertility rate 1,85 1,86 1,87 1,83 1,80 1,75 1,71 1,65 1,57 1,49
Mother's mean age by all live births 30,1 30,1 30,1 30,3 30,3 30,4 30,5 30,6 30,8 30,9
Mother's mean age by first live birth  28,2 28,2 28,3 28,4 28,5 28,6 28,6 28,8 29,1 29,2

Source: Births 2017. Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Marja-Liisa Helminen 029 551 3273, Miina Keski-Petäjä 029 551 3240,

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

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Appendix tables

Quality descriptions

Updated 27.4.2017

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Births [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-2413. 2017. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 22.4.2024].
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