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Finland's birth rate falls again in 2017 - likely lowest in 150 years

Finland's birth rate continues to drop, according to preliminary figures from the National Institute for Health and Welfare THL.

Käsi pitelee vauvan pientä kättä.
File photo. Image: Roli Seeger
Yle News

Finland's birth rate in 2016 was lower than at any point since Finland's famine in 1868, and it appears the birth rate in 2017 was even lower.

Some 50,858 babies were born in Finland last year, according to preliminary figures, which is five percent fewer than were born in 2016.

THL researcher Mika Gissler said that birth rates in Finland have tended to vary over the years, but there has not been a similar, continuous drop in birth rate in a very long time.

He said that the low birth rate is particularly troubling because in 20 or 30 years there will be a major drop in the number of taxpayers in the system, adding that the country needs to figure out what to do about that possibility.

"We either need to consider which benefits and types of welfare we can afford to give citizens or another alternative is that we'd bring in more immigrants to work and pay taxes here," Gissler said.

He said that it is difficult to raise nativity levels through the use of state-funded benefits or bonuses.

"The decision to start a family is made by people and there are not many ways to affect their decisions [in that regard], so we have to create a society in which people will want to bring children," he said.

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