Age structure of population 

Updated: 27.3.2015 - Next update: 10.12.2015

Fewer than one hundred municipalities increased their population

At the end of 2014, there were 896,608 persons aged under 15 in Finland and 3,483,757 persons aged between 15 and 64. Persons aged 65 or over numbered 1,091,388 at the end of 2014. The demographic dependency ratio, that is, the number of those aged 15 or under and 65 or over per 100 working age persons, was 57.1. The demographic dependency ratio was last higher than this in 1961. During our independence, the demographic dependency ratio was at its highest in 1917 (67.6) and at its lowest in 1984 (46.7).

Examined by area, the demographic dependency ratio was highest in the regions of Etelä-Savo, 67.1, and Central Ostrobothnia, 65.4. The demographic dependency ratio was lowest in the region of Uusimaa, 49.2. Examined by municipality, the demographic dependency ration was highest in Luhanka, 100.8, and Kuhmoinen, 99.2, and lowest in Helsinki, 43.4, and Tampere, 46.5.

Statistical release

Statistics Finland / Population structure

Description of indicator

Statistics on the structure of the population describe Finnish and foreign citizens permanently resident in Finland at the turn of the year. The statistics contain data on the population’s place of residence, age, native language, nationality and country of birth, as well as on the spouse, all children and parents of an individual person.

The data are obtained from the Population Information System of the Population Register Centre according to the situation at the turn of the year.

The age structure of the population and changes in the level of the working population have a wide impact on the overall development of the economy and society. Population ageing has direct effects on growth of overall general government expenditure, the stability of general government finances and the level of the economic dependency ratio. In addition to ageing, general government expenditure growth is strongly influenced by economic conditions and any deficit in general government finances that follows a decline in total demand. The development of age structure also has cross-sectoral impacts on measures to stabilise and balance general government finances.

Together with weak economic conditions and changes in the operating environment and structures of the labour market, the ageing of the working population in future years might significantly increase pressures to increase taxation in central government finances. In addition to tax policy, the distortion of the dependency ratio due to ageing will increase the need to expand the working population by developing immigration policy and activating migration flows from abroad. As well as economic effects, the development of the age structure presents challenges particularly for employment trends in remote areas and for the regional distribution of dependency ratio levels.

The negative effects of the current age structure trend on the labour market and economic growth are highly significant for the funding of the welfare society. Even though the growth pressure on care and nursing expenditure resulting from population ageing depends on how healthy the elderly people of the future will be, it is very probable that pension and care expenditure will grow at the same rate as the working population ages. In covering future spending pressures, a key role will also be played by the education, labour and immigration policies of future years and their impact on the development of the employment rate and growth in the tax rate.