Finland is a Northern European nation bordering Sweden, Norway and Russia. Since joining the EU in 1995, the country has overcome an economic downturn and its universal healthcare system has been cited by prominent political leaders as a positive example. The unemployment rate is at 7.6 percent, slightly higher than the EU average of 6.8 percent.
Attractions include the views of the Northern Lights, which can be seen best between September and April. and Finland is the EU’s third most expensive country. The nation administers universal healthcare and utilizes income, property and sales tax to cover the cost. Here are 10 facts about living conditions in Finland.
Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Finland
- In Finland, about 83 percent percent of people say that they feel safe walking alone at night. In fact, Finland’s homicide rate is 1.4 percent.
- The life expectancy for women is 83.5 years and 77.5 years for men. Twenty-one percent of Finland’s population is over the age of 65, and the lower life expectancy for men is attributed to men declining medical help for conditions, and for lifestyle choices that lead to cardiovascular disease. There is also a high death rate due to alcohol-related deaths among men.
- The child mortality rate in Finland is 4 percent, one of the lowest in the world. It was not always this way; in the 1930s, one in ten children died in their first year of life. This caused the government to provide maternity packages in 1949. These resource bundles contained baby supplies such as clothes, toys and blankets. Today, maternity clinics are available to all people, regardless of income.
- One in 10 young families with small children reported being food insecure. While they have access to stores, this family demographic reports being unable to afford groceries. The income level is statistically lower in families whose parents have completed less education. In 2015 and 2017, the country decreased its allotment for child allowances, which is a stipend that goes toward every legal resident in Finland until age 17.
- Sixty-nine percent of people aged 15 to 64 are employed. Around four percent of employees work very long hours. Finland has high completion rates: 88 percent of adults aged 25-64 have completed upper secondary education. In this regard, Finland’s possesses one of the most accomplished education systems in the world, as its standardized test scores are among the highest of the European nations.
- Finland spends less than 7 percent of its gross national product on healthcare. This expenditure is one of the lowest rates among EU members. The public sector finances 76 percent of total healthcare costs through tax dollars. With this resource, every resident citizen of Finland receives free healthcare.
- In 2017, the country began a two-year-long basic income experiment. The government provided unemployed participants with 560 euros per month for the duration of the experiment. Initial results suggested the experiment left people happier, but still unemployed, and their impetus for finding a job may have been removed. The full report of results will be available within the next year.
- In 2017, the country allotted 10 million euros to help train 2,500 immigrants to find skilled labor jobs within three years. Despite this success, local residents argue that Finland can improve the integration of migrant women and children into its workforce and society to boost the economy and social standards.
- Finland’s average monthly salary is 3,300 euros. Meanwhile half of working people in Finland earn less than the median of 2,900 euros per month.
- On March 8, 2019, Finland’s entire government resigned due to an inability to achieve welfare and healthcare reform. With its aging population, it is difficult for the nation to maintain the current policies — a decision that “hugely disappointed” Prime Minister Juha Sipila. However, Antti Kaikkonen, a senior member of the Center Party, showed support of the decision, saying it is an example of “political responsibility.” The current government will remain in office in a low capacity until the general elections in April.
Promoting a High Quality of Life
Finland has been a leader among the EU in experimental policies — such as the basic income experiment — maternity packages and child allowance. The recent resignation of their government is another example of their willingness to deviate from the norm in support of ensuring the best living conditions for Finnish people.
– Ava Gambero