Finland's low birth rate is a concern, admits new Minister of Family Affairs

Annika Saarikko (Centre) assumed her new responsibilities as the Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services on Monday, 10 July, 2017.

Annika Saarikko (Centre), the newly appointed Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services, has admitted to being alarmed by the historically low birth rate in Finland.

Read also: Stockmann, S-Group and the Big Party Politics – Freedom of Choice for consumers is a myth…

Statistics Finland has warned that this year the number of births could fall short of the 50,000 mark for the first time since the famine years of 1866–1868, when the country had a total population of no more than roughly two million.

“I’m keen on looking into what’s the cause of it all,” Saarikko stated in a press conference after her appointment as the Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services in Helsinki on Monday.

She reminded, however, that also the hopes, dreams and conceptions related to families and the number of children have evolved over timein Finland. 

“One of the underlying factors that may be of importance is the general feeling of insecurity. The cost of living in urban centres, uncertainties in the labour markets, people’s understanding of when they’re in a place in life with respect to their career that it’s possible to start a family,” listed Saarikko.

“My foremost concern when it comes to the statistics is that the divide between the desired number children and the actual number of children is at its the widest among low-income families.”


Read also: "Circular economy" fits into India's renewable energy plans: Finland Minister

Saarikko also said she hopes to be able to concentrate not only on the reform of social and health care services but also on other dimensions of family policy in her capacity as the Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services. She revealed, for example, that she is an advocate of bringing all family services under the same roof into what have been tentatively dubbed family centres.

“To me this is about shifting the focus of the political debate and decision-making genuinely toward future Finns, making sure Finland is a genuinely child-friendly country,” she said.

“This focal point is a priority – to establish family centres, with the maternity and child health clinics at their core, under the same roof all over Finland. That’s my first and foremost priority,” added Saarikko.

She also said she intends to maintain discussion about the proposed overhaul of the family leave system, despite the fact that it is not on the government’s agenda due to the resistance of first the Finns Party and later the New Alternative Parliamentary Group.

“My own party believes it would be extremely positive if the reform process was launched before the end of the current electoral term. The ruling parties failed to reach an understanding on the issue, but it won’t stop me from maintaining the discussion. I’m personally supportive of the family leave reform,” she told.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

Photo: Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva

Read other news on the city site of Helsinki.

helsinkitimes
SocialServices StatisticsFinland lowbirthrate
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Society
A citizens initiative demanding the end of diesel tax met its target for 50,000 signatures in just one day, six months ahead of schedule. Cities across the world might be looking for ways to reduce the use of harmful diesel engines, but in Finland there appears to be a groundswell of popular support for the dirty fuel. On Monday Tuulikki Paavola published a citizens initiative demanding an end to Finland’s diesel tax was published, with the goal of getting...
Society
The winners of the first edition of the European Capital of Smart Tourism competition were awarded 7th of November at a ceremony in Brussels, on the occasion of the European Tourism Day. The title for 2019 was awarded to two cities: Helsinki and Lyon. Cities of more than 100.000 inhabitants were eligible in the first edition of this competition. 38 cities from 19 EU Member States applied, but Helsinki and Lyon stood out for their innovative tourism measure...
Society
Alexander Stubb (NCP), a vice-president at the European Investment Bank (EIB), has hinted at the possibility of returning to politics after losing the race to become the lead candidate of the European People’s Party (EPP) to Manfred Weber of Germany. Stubb received more votes than expected but lost to his rival candidate by a clear vote of 127 to 492 at EPP Congress Helsinki on Thursday. “I got a very good feeling [from the campaign], I must admit,” the fo...
Politics
The Finnish government will introduce no amendments to legislation on patient data during this electoral term, assures Annika Saarikko, the Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services. Saarikko and Kai Mykkänen (NCP), the Minister of the Interior, have participated actively in public debate concerning a legislative proposal that, according to Helsingin Sanomat, has been drafted in secrecy and would grant police significantly wider access to sensitive pa...
Society
School groups could in the future use public transport services in the Helsinki region free of charge when travelling with a teacher, according to a decision made by the Executive Board of Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) on 30 October 2018. The final decision on transport charges, including tickets for school groups, will be made by the HSL General Meeting on 27 November.  From the beginning of 2019 onwards, municipal school administrations would no longer...
Society
Finland has dropped to eighth in the world in the latest version of a ranking of countries according to their English language skills. Finns are now the worst English-speakers in the Nordic countries, according to the EF English Proficiency Index. The 2018 version of the ranking puts Finland in eighth spot, with western neighbour Sweden topping the comparison. This year’s result is the weakest Finland has achieved in the ranking, which has been published e...
Society
The theme of next month's Independence Day ball at Helsinki's Presidential Palace will be climate change and environmental issues. The theme of this year's Independence Day reception will be climate change and the environment, according to the Office of the President of the Republic. Finland's most exclusive social occasion is just one month away, and the Office of the President has started sending invitations to some 1,700 guests for an evening that tradi...
Society
The day's papers report on unsolved thefts, free head lice medicine for families and Angela Merkel's visit to Helsinki. Daily Helsingin Sanomat reports that most larcenies go unsolved in Finland. According to statistics by the Police University College, police were able to clear 3,150 offences between January and September of this year, while about 41,500 remain unsolved. In 80 smaller municipalities, especially in Lapland and Åland, the police did not sol...
Society
Finland's Tax Administration reports that 15,000 more eligible taxpayers declared no taxable income in the last two years, putting the total past 160,000 in 2017. https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/steady_increase_in_declarations_of_no_taxable_income/10492154 The number of eligible taxpayers who reported no taxable income in Finland has risen by 15,000 in the last two years to a total of 161,000 in 2017. "Most of the people declaring no taxable income are...