Finland’s new population forecast highlights three fascinating trends

Finland's new population forecast highlights three fascinating trends

According to the forecast, in as many as five or six municipalities, especially in former industrial areas and small rural areas, the population will decline – quite a few more than 25 percent. Regionally, the population grows only in Pirkanmaa, Southwest Finland, the islands of Uusimaa and Åland, for example in areas such as Vantaa, Sipoo, Helsinki, Kaarina and Turku.

The basic forecast is based on historical demographic trends in 2015–2020.

“What is new is that the largest beneficiaries in these urban areas are increasingly surrounding urban suburbs, such as Nurmijärvi, Kirkkonummi, Kaarina and Nokia, and not the urban centers themselves,” Rasmus Aro, MDI expert, commented To YLE.

This third wave of urban concentration is one of the three most interesting trends in the forecast, Timo Aro, Senior expert at MDI, said Helsingin sanomat newspaper.

The common denominators of these municipalities, he said, are a convenient location, good transport links to the population center of the area, the availability of housing options and a good reputation.

Another trend is that the coronavirus epidemic seems to have to some extent halted urbanization, which has led people to recognize the attractiveness of municipalities in the tourism industry or in the abundant cottage, such as Puumala, Sulkava, Kemiönsaari, Kalajoki, Kuusamo and Kolari.

The third fascinating trend is the dramatic decrease in the number of people whose mother tongue is one of the three official languages ​​of Finland: Finnish, Swedish or Sámi. MDI predicts that the number will decrease by about 450,000 by 2040, while the number of foreign language speakers will increase by 490,000.

“It’s almost half a million in both directions. These are pretty wild numbers, ”Timo Aro said. “It is possible to talk about a new large-scale migration related to the choices related to the living and location of foreign language speakers in Finland.”

Rasmus Aro said press release that the effects of different language groups were taken into account in the forecast for the first time.

“The direction of future demographic development will be determined especially by foreign language speakers, which needs to be taken into account more proactively in the development of all regions and municipalities,” he said. “If the region wants to grow in the coming decades, it must be able to attract and hold foreign speakers.”

A less surprising but still significant trend is the aging of the population. According to the forecast, the population under the age of 15 will shrink by 124,000 and the working age population: by 91,000, while the increase for retirees over the age of 65 will increase by 250,000.

Timo Aro reminded that the aging of the population puts all kinds of pressure on municipalities.

“The biggest fear factor is related to the development of the tax-paying population, which differs and differentiates wildly according to place of residence. This, in turn, has a direct effect on what services can be offered to everyone equally, regardless of place of residence or background, “he explained to Helsingin Sanomat.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

Source: The Nordic Page

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