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Finland sees mini baby boom

Birth rates recovered in Finland in the first half of the year.

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New mom Elina Vierimaa said the pandemic led her to re-evaluate her life and start a family. Image: Jarkko Riikonen / Yle

Births in Finland were up six percent in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2020.

Between January and May, Finland welcomed 20,264 new babies, an increase of 1,191 over the same time last year, according to Statistics Finland.

This rise was preceded by a ten-year decline in births, and Finland still has one of the lowest birth rates in the world.

The pandemic does not entirely explain the rebound in births as Finland started seeing more babies in the spring of 2020.

Kimmo Jokinen, a family researcher at Jyväskylä University, said public debate regarding the ageing population and baby bust may have contributed to people considering starting their own families.

"Family life is also increasingly portrayed in a positive light," he said, suggesting that many factors including the effects of the pandemic have served as catalysts.

Jokinen argued that people have had more mental space to focus on family, as hobbies, travel and social life have been on hold.

"Many babies were conceived early last autumn—that's when Finland’s Covid situation had improved a bit, perhaps making the future look a little brighter."

Finland's birth increase is an international anomaly as pandemic shutdowns have not generally led to more babies being born. Births have generally fallen around the world since the start of the pandemic.

"Compared to many other countries, Finland has managed relatively well during the pandemic. This can increase people's confidence in the future," Jokinen explained.

He, however, pointed out that the tiny boom won't have any major impact on Finland. Far more babies would be needed for municipalities to start expanding family services like daycares and schools.

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