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1. Introduction

This Labour Force Survey publication contains statistical data on families and work. The data are based on interview data derived from the household section of the Labour Force Survey. The publication focuses on the age group 20 to 59 as concerns both children’s parents and persons without children used as the comparison group, because over 99 per cent of the parents of children aged under 18 belong to this age group. Families with children are families that have at least one child aged under 18 living in the same household. In this review, people without children are those who do not have children aged under 18 living in their household.

At the end of 2016, families with children numbered 570,000. The number of families with children has fallen over the past ten years by an average of 2,000 families per year. At the turn of the year, the average number of children belonging to a family with underage children was 1.85. Of these families, 43 per cent had one child and 39 per cent had two children. Of the families with children, 59 per cent were families of married couples and 20 per cent were those of cohabiting couples. Around one-fifth were single-parent families. (Source: Families 2016, Statistics Finland.)

This publication examines changes that have occurred in the employment of mothers and fathers of families with children and in the use of family leaves between 2012 and 2016. The appendix tables contain data for all of these years.

When assessing employment among parents of small children, the international definition of the employed used in the Labour Force Survey should be considered: In the Labour Force Survey, employed are those who have worked for at least one hour during the survey week. Employed are also those employees absent from work whose reason for absence is maternity or paternity leave, illness or accident or whose absence has lasted under three months. Based on this definition, employed persons include especially a high number of mothers of small children looking after their child at home. Self-employed persons are always included in employed even if they had not worked during the survey week.

Sections 2 and 3 of this publication describe the employment of the parents of families with children and Section 4 explains their activity in more detail. The used concepts and the household data for the Labour Force Survey are described in more detail in Sections 5 and 6.

Source: Labour Force Survey 2016. Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Tarja Nieminen 029 551 3561, Anna Prnnen 029 551 3795,

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

Updated 10.10.2017

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Labour force survey [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-7857. Families and work 2016, 1. Introduction . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 3.6.2023].
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