Disturbing, and it’s all because of state run policies that keep this country in a continual negative downward trend. The more statism you have, the less free and pessimistic the citizen will be.
According to figures released by official number-crunchers Statistics Finland on Tuesday, just 26,517 babies were born in the first half of this year, a drop of more than 900 from the same period last year.
Senior actuary Matti Saari of Statistics Finland primarily attributes the low birth rate to economic uncertainty.
“This declined in the birth rate has continued for several years now during the economic downturn,” he notes. “The gloomy atmosphere undermines people’s faith in the future and discourages them from expanding their families.”
The central statistics bureau calculates that last year a total of 55,472 kids were born in Finland, which was nearly 1800 fewer than the previous year.
In the past six months, deaths outnumbered births in Finland by more than 750. During the same period of last year, the situation was flipped, with almost 700 more births than deaths.
“When you look at our demographic structure, we’re now in a slightly higher birth situation than in 1973. At that point, too, the rate had declined for many years in a row. The decision-makers reacted to the situation, though, and increased family policy supports. It remains to be seen how they will now react to this drop, as there has not really been any discussion about it,” Saari says.
Migration brings growth
Between January and June, almost 14,000 people moved to Finland while less than half that number emigrated. The number of immigrants was up by more than 1,100 compared to the start of 2015, while there were some 700 fewer emigrants. As of the end of June, the overall population stood at 5,493,577.
The region with the biggest growth, more than 10, 000 people, was Uusimaa, which includes three of the four biggest cities: Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa. Net growth during the six months was around 0.6 percent.
That was edged out by the maritime province of Åland, which had 0.7 percent growth.
“Åland has traditionally attracted quite a lot of immigration, partly because it has a different tax status,” observes Saari. The semi-autonomous island group is almost entirely Swedish-speaking.
According to most demographers, local population growth does not begin to be problematic until it surpasses 1.5 or two percent annually. On an annualised basis, Uusimaa’s growth will probably be about 1.2 percent this year.
“The numbers on population concentration are not alarmingly large. Internal migration is modest. Most of the growth in urban areas comes from abroad,” Saari told Yle.
The region with the greatest relative population loss was South Karelia in the east, which dipped by 0.5 percent in the first half-year. Numerically, the biggest decline was in Ostrobothnia, western Finland, which saw its population drop by almost 550 people.