HELSINKI – Finland saw the smallest number of live births in 150 years, cutting short a nascent positive trend that had emerged during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The upturn in the birth rate during 2020 and 2021 interrupted a long-term slide.
However, it turned out to have been “short-lived” and was followed by a “sharp decline”, said Chief Actuary Joonas Toivola at Statistics Finland.
In 2022, 44,933 children were born, 9.4 per cent fewer than in 2021, Statistics Finland said, citing preliminary data released Thursday. The fertility rate fell to a record low 1.32.
There’s no consensus on why births had been falling – or why they suddenly increased during the pandemic – and the statistics office offered no insight into last year’s decline.
The government has sought to sweeten benefits for parents, introducing a more equal family leave, and is even looking over its budgets to see how its spending is affecting kids.
In addition to the slump in births, Finland also recorded the largest number of deaths since World War II, the data showed.
The number of deaths rose to 62,886, up by 5,227 from a year earlier, in the country with an aged populace. BLOOMBERG