Economic dependency ratio

Updated: 12 Feb 2019
Next update: 17 Dec 2019

Population structure is measured with the so-called economic dependency ratio which gives the numbers of persons unemployed or outside the labour force per one employed persons.

The employed labour force comprises all persons between 18-74 who were employed during the reference week and were neither registered as unemployed jobseekers at the labour exhange office nor undergoing military or non-military service.

The unemployed labour force comprises persons aged 15-74 who were unemployed on the last working day of the year. Data on unemployment are obtained from the Ministry of Labour's register on job applicants.

Persons outside the labour force: 0-14-year-olds, students, pupils, pensioners, conscripts, conscientious objectors and others outside the labour force.

A student or a pupil is a person over 15 who is studying full-time in an educational institution and is neither gainfully employed nor unemployed.

Pensioners comprise all persons who according to the data of the Social Insurance Institution or the Centre for Pensions receive a pension (excl. those receiving family pension or part-time pension) and are not gainfully employed. All persons over 74 are also classified as pensioners. In addition, some persons have been classified as pensioners on the basis of pension income.


Economic dependency ratio was 137 in 2017

According to the data of Statistics Finland's employment statistics, the economic dependency ratio was 137 in 2017. This means that there were 137 non-employed persons per one hundred employed persons in 2017. In 2016, the dependency ratio was 142. In total, there were 2,302,000 employed persons aged 18 to 64 in 2017 of which 2,074,000 were wage and salary earners and 228,000 self-employed persons. There were 296,000 unemployed persons and 2,889,000 persons in the inactive population.

The economic dependency ratio refers to the ratio of the number of employed persons to unemployed persons and persons in the inactive population. The inactive population includes persons aged 0 to 14, students and pupils, conscripts and those in non-military service, pensioners and others in the inactive population.

When the number of employed rises relative to the number of unemployed and persons in the inactive population, the economic dependency ratio falls. Correspondingly, when the number of unemployed and persons in the inactive population grows relative to the number of employed, the economic dependency ratio grows. The variation of the economic dependency ratio may be influenced by the growing number of pensioners and the employment situation. There has been great variation in the economic dependency ratio in the past few decades. During the recession in the 1990s, the economic dependency ratio was high. It was at its highest in 1993, when there were 172 non-employed persons per one hundred employed persons. The economic dependency ratio was at its lowest in 1989 (112).