Surge in births has ground to a halt
After several years in which the number of live births in Finland increased annually, 2011 saw a downturn and the apparent end of the miniature babyboom.
According to figures from Statistics Finland released on Friday, the number of births last year fell just short of 60,000 (59,961), and this was just over a thousand down from the previous year. We had seen small but measurable growth each year since 2007.
Statistics Finland reports that the numbers were lower both for first-time mothers and for women giving birth to their second child.
Conversely, the number of families into which a third child was born increased slightly, thereby stemming the reduction in the birth rate.
Based on the figures for 2011, a woman in Finland gives birth to an average of 1.83 children, with the regional peaks coming in the municipalities of Northern, Central, and Southern Ostrobothnia (between 2.17 and 2.37) and the lowest number of confinements in Uusimaa (1.65).
Only in those three districts of Western Finland did the birth rate actually go above the threshold for population renewal.
One trend has continued. Mothers are getting older.
The mean age of all women at confinement rose to from 30.1 to 30.3 years and that for first-time mothers also went up slightly to 28.4 years. From the beginning of the 21st century, the overall figure for first confinements has risen by nearly a year.
Since 1969, the birth rate in Finland has been below the roughly 2.1 live births per woman during her reproductive lifetime required for the population to renew itself.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Helsinki age pyramid bulges at both ends (31.10.2011)
NEWS ANALYSIS: Baby boomers – blessing and curse (13.9.2011)
Finland 24/7: a statistical snapshot of where we are (20.12.2011)
Statistics Finland: birth rate fell slightly (13.4.2012)
Statistics Finland - Population