Editorial: Finland's demographic development is very worrying

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Now we need a return to population policy, writes Iltaleh's Mika Koskinen.

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A newborn baby drinks milk from a baby bottle. Archive photo from 2013. Jenni Gä[email protected] Today at 15:25

The record low birth rate is news that should ring alarm bells in Finnish society.

Statistics Finland reported on Thursday that 22,180 children were born in Finland in the first half of the year, which is 2,453 fewer than in 2021. The number of births in January-June was the lowest in the history of measurements that began in 1900.

The latest from the box the figures did not come. The birth rate began to decline already in January, and the decline has continued every month since then.

Before that, two years of growth were experienced. There has been talk of a corona boom in birth rates. Demographers are still pondering how much of the growth can be directly attributed to the crown, but its significance was great. Corona, with all its restrictions, meant a big life change for many families, which favored the purchase of children.

Children are often talked about as future taxpayers. Someone may consider this kind of speech tasteless, but the cold fact is that Finland cannot be a flourishing society if the people here just get older and the population eventually declines. According to Statistics Finland's latest (2021) population forecast, Finland's population growth will turn to decline in 2034. Based on Thursday's figures, the turn will happen much earlier.

A low birth rate is poison for the population structure. It is difficult to achieve economic growth when the working-age population is decreasing. The slowdown in economic growth, on the other hand, reduces tax revenues and thus weakens the funding of the welfare state at the same time as the swelling elderly population increases the need for social security services.

The equation is rough. That is why you would think that the latest figures from Statistics Finland would have caused our country's leading politicians to express their concern about Finland's population development and, above all, how this major social problem should be solved.

It is illustrative that the Minister of Family and Basic Services Aki Lindén (sd) did not react to the news in any way. Instead, many economists and social scientists expressed their justifiable concerns.

Finland's population was 5,552,550 at the end of June. The population grew by a paltry 4,309 people in the first half of the year. Population growth was sustained by immigration from abroad. This has been the case for many years.

It is clear that Finland needs more immigrants. However, immigration is not a solution if those who come here do not get a job and return home, as is too often the case when it comes to humanitarian immigration. Bad immigration only weakens Finland's dependency ratio even more.

What Finland needs above all now is a decent population policy. Population policy is defined as efforts and measures aimed at influencing birth rates, mortality rates, marriage rates and migration in such a way that population growth is desirable from the point of view of society's development.

Vaestöliitto, concerned about the decline in birth rates, would have liked Antti Rinteen's (sd) government would have boldly prepared a population policy program. Väestöliitto's research professor Anna Rotkirch recently said in an interview with Talouselämä magazine that the issue was discussed strongly in the 2019 government negotiations, but it did not work for the government.

I hope it will work for the next government.< /p>

The exhortations and teasing have not made people increase, instead, concrete support measures have, as chief actuary Miina Keski-Petäjä from Statistics Finland wrote in June.

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