Poverty in Finland
Poverty in Finland? Regardless of a person’s wealth, social well-being or background, Finland is one of the most successful countries in providing equal opportunities for all citizens. No person in Finland lives beneath the international poverty line due to social benefits for employees, pensioners and young people.

Successfully Fighting Poverty in Finland

As of January, Finland has seen its highest unemployment rate since June 2016, with an increase to 9.2 percent. Although the rate has increased, Finland is currently in the midst of trialing a universal basic income scheme. The country now pays its unemployed citizens £475 per month in place of previous social benefits and will continue to pay this even when citizens find work. This trial aims to not only reduce but bring an end to poverty in Finland.

Although this scheme is intended to alleviate poverty in Finland, it could also push more people below the poverty line. Due to child benefits, housing allowances and national pensions being cut, Finland could see a rise in poverty rates. Already 180,000 pensioners live below the poverty line and this could increase due to the cuts in benefits and allowances that the government previously provided. Even with the government paying unemployed citizens monthly, pensioners will benefit more from social allowances than from this recurring payment.

Education in Finland is designed to provide the best experience for students and to lead them straight into employment. Children do not start school until they reach the age of seven and are not formally tested until they reach 16. With a high graduation rate of 93 percent, 66 percent of students then continue to study at college-level and another 43 percent begin vocational training. The school system is completely funded by the state in order for every child to have the opportunity to receive an education. With a high rate of college and vocational applicants, Finland provides every opportunity for students to head straight into employment.

Healthcare is not free in Finland; it is funded through taxation and patient fees. Facilities determine medical charges based on the patient’s ability to pay for their medication. Nevertheless, healthcare is available to all permanent residents in Finland.

Poverty in Finland is one of the lowest worldwide due to social benefits. Hopefully, this new scheme will prove to alleviate poverty and boost employment rates.

Georgia Boyle

Photo: Flickr