Age structure of population 

Updated: 29.3.2017 - Next update: 30.3.2018

Arabic became the third largest foreign-language group

According to Statistics Finlands statistics on the population structure there were 353,993 persons speaking a foreign language as their native language living in Finland in 2016. During 2016, Arabic surpassed those speaking Somali and English as their native language and became the third largest foreign-language group in Finland. There were 21,783 persons who spoke Arabic as their native language.

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.