Family types

Updated: 28 May 2021
Next update: 31 May 2022

A family consists of a married or cohabiting couple or persons in a registered partnership and their children living together; or either of the parents and his or her children living together; or a married or cohabiting couple and persons in a registered partnership without children.

Families are classified into families without children, married or cohabiting couples living with children, and single-parent families. Cohabiting couples are deduced from living together.

Families are formed at the turn of the year from persons living in the same dwelling according to the population information system of the Digital and Population Data Services Agency (The Finnish Digital Agency).


Fall in the number of families has halted

According to Statistics Finlands data, there were 1,467,653 families in Finland at the end of 2020. The number of families grew by 285, while in the previous year it decreased by 1,313 families. While in 1990 the commonest family type was married couple with children, in 2020 the commonest family type was married couple without children. The number of families with a married couple and children has been falling steadily. Correspondingly, the number of married and cohabiting couples living without children has grown.

Seventy-two per cent of the population, or 3,997,063 persons, belonged to a family, which is 16,881 fewer than in the year before. The share of persons belonging to a family has been decreasing steadily. In 1990, the respective share was 82 per cent of the population. The average size of families has also fallen from three persons in 1990 to 2.72 persons in 2020.

Examined by family type, 63 per cent of all families were families of married couples. In 2020, the number of families consisting of an opposite-sex married couple and children decreased by 8,966 families from the previous year, which is more than in the past few years. In turn, the number of opposite-sex married couples without children grew by 2,337. When examining all families it should be borne in mind that a child of a family can be of any age, that is, it is not an actual family with underage children (see families with children below).

Twenty-four per cent of families in 2020 were families of cohabiting couples. The number of families consisting cohabiting couple with children grew by 626 from the year before and the number of families without children grew by 6,128. For the time being, no cohabiting couples are formed in the family statistics from same-sex persons living together. The exception to this are female same-sex couples with common children, that is, the maternity has been confirmed (Maternity Act 253/2018): in 2020, there were 27 such cohabiting couples in total.

Statistical release