Published: 31 January 2017

Nearly one-half of general government expenditure was directed to social protection in 2015

The biggest share of general government expenditure was directed to social protection in 2015. The next biggest expenditure items were general public services, health care and education. The statistical data for 2015 are not fully comparable with previous years due to a revision in the statistics on local government finances.

Function distribution of general government expenditure in 2015, the function's share of expenditure

  Total expenditure % Net expenditure % 1) Final consumption expenditure %
G01 General public services 14,9 11,4 12,4
G02 Defence 2,4 2,4 5,3
G03 Public order and safety 2,2 2,1 4,3
G04 Economic affairs 8,3 7,9 8,5
G05 Environmental protection 0,4 0,3 0,6
G06 Housing and community amenities 0,7 0,3 0,4
G07 Health 12,6 12,7 25,3
G08 Recreation, culture and religion 2,6 2,6 3,6
G09 Education 11,0 11,5 18,6
G10 Social protection 44,9 48,6 20,9
G0 Functions total 100 100 100
1) Net expenditure = Total expenditure less received sales proceeds and premium income, and output for own final use.

Altogether 45 per cent, or EUR 53.6 billion, of general government total expenditure was directed at social protection in 2015. In all, EUR 28.1 billion of total expenditure on social protection was directed at old age. Of the expenditure related to old age, EUR 22.3 billion was employment pensions. EUR 7.4 billion was spent on sickness and functional limitations. The social protection expenditure directed at families and children amounted to EUR 6.8 billion and the expenditure on unemployment was EUR 5.6 billion.

Among consolidated total general government expenditure, central government accounted for 27 per cent of the expenditure, local government for 39 per cent, and social security funds for 34 per cent.

Total unconsolidated central government expenditure remained at the previous year's level, declining by around EUR 140 million. Especially the expenditure of general public services decreased. The data for local government are not comparable with the previous year. Due to an increase in pension costs, the expenditure of employment pension schemes increased by 5.3 per cent. The expenditure of other social security funds increased by 2.8 per cent. The growth was particularly due to an increase in expenditure connected with unemployment and housing. Expenditure related to families and children contracted.

The expenditure item that grew most was paid social contributions, by around EUR 1.3 billion or 3.2 per cent from the year before. Gross fixed capital formation, or investments, decreased by 4.9 per cent or around EUR 0.4 billion The change in intermediate consumption is not comparable with earlier years.

General government's total expenditure amounted to EUR 119.4 billion, or 57.0 per cent relative to GDP. Net expenditure was EUR 105.1 billion and the ratio to GDP was 50.1 per cent. Consumption expenditure grew by 0.7 per cent and amounted to EUR 51.1 billion, or 24.4 per cent relative to GDP.

Because of the revision of the statistics on local government finances, the expenditure is not fully comparable with earlier years. This applies to the data for the local government and general government sector total. Among expenditure items, the revision affected intermediate consumption in particular. The function classification has changed for several expenditure items.

General government's total expenditure is by nature gross expenditure. It includes a considerable amount of purchase expenses between general government, which also constitute income for general government.

A more comparable key indicator, net expenditure, is derived by deducting from total expenditure the received sales proceeds and premium income, as well as output for own final use, which means that income from services, such as service purchases within general government and the production costs of investments produced for own use do not affect the key indicator. Taxes paid by general government to one another or itself, such as value added tax and social security contributions, are not subtracted from the net expenditure, however.

Another comparable indicator is general government's consumption expenditure that describes current expenses caused for general government from service production less the service charges received from services and other sales proceeds from services.

Source: National Accounts, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Jukka Hytönen 029 551 3484,

Director in charge: Ville Vertanen

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Tables in databases

Appendix tables

Updated 31.1.2017

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): General government expenditure by function [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-0828. 2015. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 14.5.2021].
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