Finland’s Pandemic Mini Baby Boom Ends, Births Return to Record Lows

Finland experienced a mini baby boom at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, but new statistics reveal that 2022 may have seen a record-low number of births in the EU country.

Finland saw a small baby boom in the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, as the number of births increased by around ten per cent compared to the year prior to the outbreak in one Finnish region — but the trend appears to have ended in 2022 as the pandemic subsided.

Johanna Lahtela, Chief Actuary at Statistics Finland, commented on the new figures for 2022, telling public broadcaster Yle that “[t]he birth rate has remained low also towards the end of the year, and it may be that the total fertility rate in 2022 will be the lowest ever.”

From December of 2021 to November 2022, the fertility rate sat at 1.33, slightly lower than the previous record low of 1.35 children per woman.

Anna Rotkirch, a research professor at the Family Federation of Finland, said she does not expect the New Year to show immediate changes in births, saying: “The number of maternity allowances applied for shows a big drop, as much as ten per cent. Based on this, one can predict that, at least in the first months of the year, there will be no recovery.”

Rotkirch added that cultural issues, along with economic issues, explained the collapse of the birthrate in Finland overall.

“Although the average number of children [per family] is still around two, the majority of Finns seem to remain childless, because the threshold for having a firstborn child has risen for various reasons,” she said.

Finland was one of the few countries in Europe to see a small increase in births during the coronavirus pandemic. Other countries, such as Spain, saw large declines in births in the early months of the pandemic, with a decline of around five per cent in 2020.

Italy also saw births go down during the first year of the pandemic, with statistics showing that births for Italian citizens reached historic lows at just 1.17 births per woman.