One in three Finns work outside home municipality
Daily commutes grow longer
One third of Finnish working people - nearly 730,000 individuals - have jobs outside the municipality in which they live.
According to Statistics Finland, crossing municipal borders to go to work has increased steadily since the mid-1990s. The trend has accelerated in recent years, and is expected to grow further as migration from large cities to surrounding municipalities continues. Residents are attracted to surrounding communities by cheaper housing and greater living space.
As a result of the trend, an increasing number of communities near large population centres have more than half of their residents working in another municipality.
In 1989 there were just 50 such municipalities, but by 2002 this had increased to 107.
Larger metropolitan regions comprising a main city and surrounding municipalities have formed around Helsinki, Tampere, Turku, Oulu, and Jyväskylä.
Sometimes the distances travelled are even longer. About 1,800 people commute between Tampere and Helsinki, and nearly 250 fly regularly between Helsinki and Oulu.
Pekka Myrskylä of Statistics Finland notes that the trend is not a new one. "It has grown gradually from at least the 1960s, with the exception of the recession of the 1990s."
Timo Sinisalo of the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities notes that an interesting characteristic of the trend is that the higher a person’s level of education, the longer he or she is willing to commute to work.
The question is often one of lifestyle.
"When the children are small, people look for certain types of living environments, even if it means travelling a longer distance."