According to the researchers, it is still too early to assess the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on birth rates.
Birth rate Last year, Finland turned to a slight increase for the first time since 2010. According to Statistics Finland’s preliminary estimate, the total fertility rate was 1.37 in 2020. In 2019, the corresponding figure was 1.35.
The total fertility rate tells you how many children a woman would give birth on average in her lifetime if the birth rate remained at the level of the accounting year.
Finland is still one of the countries with the lowest birth rates, but the turnaround is a signal for better.
“In many countries like Finland, the birth rate is cutting back and forth, and at the beginning of the 21st century we would not have been surprised by such a change either,” says Anna Rotkirch.
In Finland, however, there is an exceptionally long decline in total fertility. Birth rates decreased from 2010 to 2019. Ten years ago, the fertility rate was 1.87.
“The rise was expected at some point. The birth rate started to rise already at the end of 2019 and has continued from month to month, ”says Rotkirch.
According to preliminary data, 46,452 children were born in Finland in 2020. In 2019, 45,613 children were born. In 2020, 839 more children would have been born than a year earlier.
Based on previous years, Statistics Finland’s forecast can be considered quite reliable. For example, in 2019, the difference between preliminary data and final birth rates was only 16.
Birth rate in particular, the increase in the number of first-time mothers seems to have increased.
“The biggest significance in the decline in the birth rate was that fewer first children were born,” says the research professor. Mika Gissler From the Department of Health and Welfare (THL).
The average age of first-time mothers has been around 30 in recent years.
“It’s a typical age to start a family. Preliminary data suggest that it is precisely the 30-year-olds who have the largest increase in the number of children born, ”says Rotkirch.
According to Rotkirch, during a long period of decline, many decided to postpone childcare. Relatively more children also appeared to be born among those aged 35–39 than a year ago.
Rotkirch is currently preparing a report to the Prime Minister’s Office on the background to demographic trends and possible solutions. The results of the study will be published in February.
“It is already good that we can rejoice in the positive turnaround and that over the past tough year, our society has shown how well it works. Having faith in the future affects childbearing. ”
Coronavirus epidemic the effects on fertility are still too early to assess, but some signs are already visible.
The first children to start during the coronavirus epidemic were born in December.
According to preliminary data, it seems that there are about 100 more people born in December than a year ago.
“Maternity clinic visits have also increased in December, but this may be partly due to the reduced number of visits due to the corona since the beginning of the year,” says Gissler.
According to Gissler, the effects of a shock like an international pandemic take about a year and a half to manifest. He estimates that the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on birth rates in Finland will begin to show properly towards the end of the year.
Rotckirch believes that Finland’s success in fighting the pandemic may also prove to be a good thing in terms of birth rate.
“Italy and the United States, for example, are predicting a sharp decline in birth rates.”
The United States and Italy are also among the countries most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Rotkirch points out that last year ‘s demographic trends show other positive signs than an increase in the birth rate.
“We must also be pleased that mortality did not rise and return migration picked up. All trends are going in the right direction, even if you compare with neighboring countries. ”
According to Statistics Finland, the population of Finland increased by 10,854 last year. The increase is mainly due to immigration. Last year, 54,943 people died in Finland, which is 994 more than a year earlier, but close to the 2018 level.
Last year, 30,987 people moved to Finland from abroad. According to preliminary data, there were 11,609 emigrants, which is 5,654 less than in 2019.
The number of emigrations has fallen below 12,000 last time in 2010 and before that in the late 1990s.