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Finland sees more deaths than births for first time since 1940

Last year Finland saw more deaths than births for the first time since 1940. Births have, according to the national statistics agency, declined for six years in a row.

Etelä-Karjalan ensimmäinen vauva 2017
Finland saw fewer births than deaths in 2016 for the first time since 1940. The picture shows the first baby born in Lappeenranta in 2017. Image: Mikko Savolainen / Yle

Finland saw a significant landmark in demographic trends last year, when the number of births dipped below the number of deaths for the first time in 76 years, according to new figures from Statistics Finland.

Since 1900 deaths have only outstripped births during the Civil War and its bloody aftermath, in 1918, and the Winter War, in 1940. The number of live births has declined for six years in a row to 52,645 in 2016.

That's the lowest number of births in Finland's history as an independent nation. The number of deaths last year was 53,629, which was up more on the previous year by more than a thousand.

Finland's population stood at 5,502,593 at the end of the year, according to preliminary figures, which is an increase of around 15,285 on the previous year—despite the higher number of deaths and lower number of births. 

That increase is due to immigration: 32,376 people moved to Finland from abroad, while some 16,007 people left Finland to live elsewhere during the course of the year.

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