Finland’s birth rate in 2019 saw the most dramatic drop among Nordic countries compared to 2018, according to new figures published by Statistic Finland on Friday.
According to the new figures, the country’s fertility rate fell below 1.4, the lowest compared to other Nordic countries. Finland’s birth rate for 2019 is also the lowest figure since 1990, the year the birth rate started to slowly decline from its then average of 1.9.
Relatively speaking, Finland’s birth rate has since 2010 seen the steepest slide compared to other Nordic countries – especially since 2014, after which it had the lowest number of newborns each year. Only Iceland reported a rising birth rate in 2019, with Icelandic women giving birth to an average of 1.75 children.
Reasons for the lower levels of newborns in Finland are manifold.
While the birth rate remains higher among households with less education, the birth rate has dropped at a similar rate in rural and urban areas in the 2010s, though differences between regions remain.
In 2019, 78% of all newborns were born in urban areas. However, ‘urban moms’ had an average of 1.29 children, while the birth rate in rural areas averaged 1.73. Among the Finnish mothers who gave birth in 2019, 54.% were married.
Finnish women were also the oldest, compared to their Nordic counterparts. Almost 24% were older than 35, compared to the 20% average among Nordic countries. The European average for women giving birth is 30.8 years old.
The statistics also show the slow ethnic change taking place in Finland. Since the 1990s, the share of women with a foreign background giving birth saw a slow increase and currently accounts for 15% of the country’s birth rate. (Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)