City of Oulu breaks Nordic records with its relative population growth
The northern city of Oulu has set at least a Nordic record with its population growth in the past ten years. The Oulu region increased its size by a third, leaving the Swedish runners-up, the Stockholm and Malmö regions, far in its wake.
In addition to Oulu, the Finnish growth centres of Tampere and Helsinki also made it to the top ten fastest growing urban areas in the North.
“The peak took place at the turn of the millennium. An enormous amount of new jobs were created here, which in turn attracted young professionals, who started a family and built a private house”, explains research chief Timo Mäkitalo of the City of Oulu.
Of the Oulu region communities, the most fervent expansion took place in the municipality of Liminka just south of Oulu, with annual growth of no less than eight percent. A new motorway that allows residents from the Liminka suburbs to reach their jobs in the city quickly goes some way towards explaining the buoyant growth.
And the trend is set to continue, at least according to the population growth predictions, which report that the Oulu region is expected to increase its population from the present 210,000 to 240,000 in the next ten years.
The Oulu region’s population structure also stands out among urban areas. The birth rate in the region is high.
Where a chronic shortage of housing and available land combined with a hair-raising price level are hampering growth in the capital area, things are somewhat different in the Oulu region.
The area’s municipalities have drawn up plans for new residential areas at the rate of demand, which has helped to keep prices moderate even in the private sector.
The City of Oulu alone provides around 250 new plots for those wanting to build a detached house. Moving into the area is made easy and affordable.
But the Oulu reality consists of more than just highly-educated and successful young families with children.
Unemployment among the young, for one, is a difficult headache. A fifth of the unemployed in the area are under the age of 25, and most of them do not have a professional degree of any kind.
The problems are reflected in the child welfare statistics: urgent transfers of guardianship are on the up.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Helsinki population growth continues (8.9.2006)
City of Oulu