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Published: 26 April 2019

Steep decline in the birth rate continued

According to Statistics Finland’s data on population changes, the birth rate fell for the eighth year in a row. At the fertility rate prevailing in 2018, a woman would give birth to an average of 1.41 children. The figure is now the lowest of all times. A total of 47,577 babies were born in 2018, which is 2,744 fewer than in the year before.

Total fertility rate in 1900 to 2018

Total fertility rate in 1900 to 2018

When the number of births is taken as a proportion to the number of women of childbearing age, the birth rate can be examined. The birth rate is commonly measured with the total fertility rate, which indicates how many children a women would give birth to during her life time if the birth rate remained the same as in the year on which the calculation is based.

In 2018, the total fertility rate measuring the birth rate was the lowest of all times, 1.41 children per woman. The birth rate fell clearly from the previous year, when the figure was 1.49. The birth rate has been falling throughout the 2010s and the decline has become steeper after 2015. Before 2017 and 2018, the birth rate was at its lowest in 1973, when the total fertility rate was 1.50 per woman. Since 1969, the birth rate has been below the population regeneration rate, which is 2.1 children per woman.

Compared to the year before, the birth rate went down for women of nearly all ages (Appendix figure 1). In 2018, women who gave birth to their first child were, on average, 29.4 years of age. The average age was 29.2 in the previous year and in ten years it has risen by 1.2 years. Correspondingly, the average age of all women that gave birth rose from the previous year by 0.2 years, to 31.1. In the past ten years, it has risen by 1.0 years (table).

First-time fathers were aged 31.4 years, on average. The average age of all men who became fathers was 33.5 years. Data on fathers are based on population data in the statistical reference period, according to which a father is recorded for nearly 98 per cent of children in the Population Information System.

A total of 47,577 persons were born in 2018. In all, 5.5 per cent, or 2,744 fewer children were born than in 2017.

Live births in 1971 to 2018

Live births in 1971 to 2018

Birth rate fell in all regions

For the first time during the decline in the birth rate in the 2010s, the birth rate fell from the previous year in all regions ( database table 10 ). The decline in the birth rate was in relative terms steepest in South Karelia, 11 per cent, South Ostrobothnia, 10 per cent, and in Satakunta, 9 per cent.

The birth rate was above the rate for the whole country in ten regions. At the 2018 birth rate, most children would be born in the regions of Ostrobothnia: On average, 1.92 children per woman in Central Ostrobothnia, 1.70 in North Ostrobothnia, 1.68 in Ostrobothnia, and 1.64 in South Ostrobothnia. The lowest numbers of children would be born in Southwest Finland, an average of 1.32 children per woman, and in Uusimaa, South Karelia and Pirkanmaa, in all 1.33 children per woman. The birth rate was not above the population regeneration rate in any region in 2018.

Birth rate highest in Seinäjoki and lowest in Helsinki

In municipalities with at least 50,000 inhabitants, the birth rate was highest in Seinäjoki, where the total fertility rate was 1.70 in the five-year period of 2014 to 2018. The second highest rates were found in Porvoo, 1.70 and Espoo, 1.66. The figure for the whole country in the five-year period was 1.56.

Respectively, the birth rate was lowest in the period 2014 to 2018 in Helsinki, where the total birth rate was 1.23. The rate was 1.26 in Turku and 1.29 in Tampere. In a comparison of all municipalities, the birth rate in the last-mentioned towns was also among the lowest.

Number of live births, total fertility rate and mother's mean age by live births in 2009 to 2018

Year 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Number of live births   60 430   60 980   59 961   59 493   58 134   57 232   55 472 52 814 50 321 47 577
Total fertility rate 1,86 1,87 1,83 1,80 1,75 1,71 1,65 1,57 1,49 1,41
Mother's mean age by all live births 30,1 30,1 30,3 30,3 30,4 30,5 30,6 30,8 30,9 31,1
Mother's mean age by first live birth  28,2 28,3 28,4 28,5 28,6 28,6 28,8 29,1 29,2 29,4

Source: Births 2018. Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Timo Nikander 029 551 3250, Miina Keski-Petäjä 029 551 3240,

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

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Quality descriptions

Updated 26.4.2019

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Births [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-2413. 2018. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 24.2.2024].
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