Finland is a Nordic country situated in the Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden, Norway, Russia, and Estonia. Population was around 5.5 million in 2013, with the majority concentrated in its southern regions. Finland is the eighth largest country in Europe and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. Finland is a parliamentary republic with a central government based in the capital of Helsinki, local governments consist of 320 municipalities and an autonomous region, the Åland Islands. About one million residents live in the Greater Helsinki area (cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen), which also produces a third of the country's GDP. Other large cities are Tampere, Turku, Oulu, Jyväskylä, Lahti, and Kuopio.

Health status

Health and life expectancy has increased continuously. Welfare and health inequalities between population groups have remained unchanged or even grown slightly. The differences are evident in the mortality, sickness rates, functional capacity and perceived health between socioeconomic groups, regions and the sexes. The most influential factor for the demographic structure is ageing. The over-65s accounted for 17.5 percent of the population in 2010. A Finnish woman gives birth to 1.83 children on average, which is above the European average (2011). Life expectancy is 76 years for men and 82 years for women.

Lifestyle-related diseases are increasing. The percentage of overweight adolescents has tripled in the last 30 years. Only one in three gets enough exercise. The most common endemic disease is diabetes with more than half a million sufferers. The most common musculoskeletal diseases are back problems, hip and knee osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.

The number of cancer patients has increased slightly, but the prognosis has improved continuously. The most common forms of cancer are prostate cancer among men and breast cancer among women. Other growing health problems are allergies and dementia. Approximately one in four people aged 75 and over will need care due to dementia in the coming years.

Mental disorders are among the most common reasons for disability for work. Approximately one in two people on a disability pension are unable to work due to mental disorders and diseases resulting from substance abuse (2010). The most common reason is depression.
Alcohol-related problems and deaths have increased and there are between 300 000-500 000 high-risk alcohol users. In addition to high total per-capita consumption (10 litres of pure alcohol/resident/year), binge drinking is also a problem. Smoking has decreased slightly among both young people and working-age population, but differences between socioeconomic groups are substantial. Of the total population, just under one in five women and approximately one in four men smoke daily.



National Institute for Welfare and Health

SOTKAnet contains comprehensive statistical information on welfare and health in Finland. The service also includes key data on population and health in Europe broken down by country. More information about SOTKAnet Statistics and Indicator Bank, can be found here

THL's statistical data is produced not only from national registers but also within the framework of its R&D activities from sample material or ready-made statistical data. The survey-based population studies draw on information reported by the research subjects themselves. More information can be found here

Other resources:

Terveys 2011 (Health 2011) Study
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 
Ministry of Education and Culture: Sports 
Association of local authorities, more information available here
Brochure Health Care in Finland (download
General information on Finland, available here.
General information on Finland, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland, available here

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