Family types

Updated: 25 May 2018
Next update: 21 Nov 2018

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 Population Register Centre.

   

Number of families turned to a decline

According to Statistics Finland's data, there were 1,472,000 families in Finland at the end of 2017. The number of families fell the first time during the family statistics. The number fell by 4,100 from the previous year. Until now, the number of families has grown, although slowly in recent years. The contraction is almost at the same level as the annual growth in the number still a couple of years ago.

Sixty-four per cent of all families were families of married couples. The number of families formed by opposite-sex married couples and children has fallen by 5,900 from the previous year. There has also been a decrease in cohabiting families 1) without any children or with only non-common children. The number of cohabiting families without children has fallen by nearly 800 and that of those with only non-common children by close on 200. The numbers of other family types have grown. The number of families of a mother and children grew most, by around one thousand. The number of families formed by opposite-sex married couples without children grew by 700. The number of families of a father and children went up by nearly 700 and that of cohabiting couples with common children by around one hundred.

At the beginning of March 2017, an amendment to the Marriage Act entered into force, as a result of which part of registered partners have changed their partnership into marriage and new registered partners can no longer be formed. The number of families of registered couples was 1,500, or 1,200 lower than one year previously. There were 1,600 families of same-sex married couples. Of them, 67 per cent were families of female couples. Twenty-three per cent were still families of cohabiting couples and 13 per cent one-parent families, which is one percentage point more than in the previous year. People living alone numbered 1,162,000, which is almost 31,000 more than in the year before.

The average size of a family was 2.8. As late as in 1990, the average size of a family was three persons. Seventy-four per cent of the population, or 4,055,000 persons, belonged to a family, which is 17,300 fewer than in the year before. The share of persons who belong to a family has been falling steadily. As late as in 1990, their share of the population was 82 per cent.

Statistical release