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Concepts and definitions

Age

In connection with vital events, age data refer to the age on the day the event took place. Average age is obtained by adding up the ages of all persons involved in the same event at the time of the event, after which the sum is divided by the number of these persons. As the used age of a person is given in full years at the time of the event, it is not the exact age of that person. For this reason, it is assumed when computing average age that the persons were aged x+0.5, on average, at the time of the event.

Age-specific marriage rate

The age-specific marriage rate indicates the number of married women per 1,000 non-married women of the mean population in the age group in question.

Age-specific remarriage rate

The age-specific remarriage rate indicates the number of second or higher order marriages contracted by women per 1,000 women that have previously been married in the age group in question.

Crude divorce rate

The crude divorce rate refers to the number of divorces per 1,000 persons of the mean population.

Crude marriage rate

The crude marriage rate refers to married women per 1,000 of the mean population.

Crude remarriage rate

The crude remarriage rate refers to the number of second or higher order marriages contracted by women per 1,000 previously married women of the mean population.

Divorce

The divorce statistics are based on data on granted decrees of divorce transmitted to the Digital and Population Services Agency (former Population Register Centre) by courts of law. The statistics also include cases where a permanent resident of Finland is granted a divorce by a foreign court. If the divorce is granted abroad, it must be reported to the register keeper for registration of divorce. Exceptions are divorces granted to Finnish citizens in Sweden, on which the Swedish register keeper notifies the Finnish counterpart directly.

In 1980 to 2016, divorces referred to divorces of women living permanently in Finland unless otherwise stated. Starting from the statistical reference year 2017, divorces where at least one of the spouses has resided permanently in Finland on the day the divorce was granted are included in the statistics as divorces. The amendment to the Marriage Act that entered into force on 1 March 2017 enabled same-sex couples to enter into marriage (156/2015). Since 2017, the total number of divorces consists of the number of divorces of marriages between opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

The amendment to the Marriage Act (411/1987), effective from 1 January 1988, simplified divorce proceedings. Divorce figures began to rise towards the end of 1988, when the first divorces (after a reconsideration period of six months) became effective under the new legislation. The Marriage Act no longer has regulations on 'cancellation of marriage' or 'nullification of marriage'. Before the new act came into force in 1988 these were in separate groups, now among divorces.

Language

Information on language is obtained from the Population Information System. At the same time as parents register the name of their new-born, they also indicate the child's mother tongue. That language is retained in the Population Information System unless it is changed upon separate application.

Languages are classified by the Population Register Centre according to the ISO 639 standard. The future language classification ISO-639-1 was already adopted for the 2000 population census.

Marriage

Starting from the statistical reference year 2017, contracted marriages refer to marriages where at least one of the spouses has resided permanently in Finland on the day when the marriage was contracted. The amendment to the Marriage Act that entered into force on 1 March 2017 enabled same-sex couples to enter into marriage (156/2015).

The number of marriages contracted annually is, thus, the number of marriages entered into by same-sex and opposite-sex spouses.

In 1980 to 2016, contracted marriages referred to marriages of women living permanently in Finland unless otherwise stated.

As a result of the amendment to the Marriage Act, starting from 1 June 2019, a person under 18 years of age shall not marry in Finland (351/ 2019).

Mean population

The notion of mean population (or average population) refers to the average of the populations of two consecutive years. When a ratio describing some phenomenon is calculated for the statistical year, the number of events in the phenomenon in question is usually expressed as a proportion of the mean population of the people or the groups subject to the event. The figures relating to population events are generally given as per 1,000, that is, the result of the division is multiplied by one thousand.

Registered partnership

Registered partnership of two persons of the same sex aged 18 or over (Act on Registered Partnerships of 9 Nov. 2001/950). Partnership is registered by an authority entitled to perform civil marriage ceremonies. Registered partnership is dissolved when one partner dies or is declared dead, or when it is dissolved by court order.

The possibility to register partnerships started in Finland on 1 March 2002 and ended on the last day of February 2017 (Act to amend the Act of Registered Partnerships 250/2016). Starting from the beginning of March 2017, same-sex couples have been able to enter into marriage (156/2015).

As a result of the amendment to the Marriage Act, parties to a partnership registered in Finland can convert their partnership into a marriage by making a joint notification of this to the Digital and Data Services Office. A registered partnership continues as a marriage from the day on which the Digital and Data Services Office has received the notification.

In the statistics, registered partnerships that have been converted into marriages based on such notification are not included as contracted marriages in the annual statistics.

Sex

The information about sex has been obtained from the Population Information System.

The probability of divorce

The probability of divorce for women’s first marriages where the spouses are of opposite sexes is produced by applying multistate life tables. The life tables are based on women's age-group specific marriage, mortality, widowhood and divorce rates in the statistical reference year regardless of the husband's age or whether the marriage is the first one or not for him.

Total marriage rate

The total marriage rate describes the proportion of women (generally per 100 or 1,000 persons) that contract marriage in their lives, on condition that none of them die and that the marriage rate in the pertinent cohort remains constant throughout the period when these women belong to the age groups of 15 to 49 years. It is computed by adding up the age-specific marriage rates of first marriages in the whole age period. For the age-specific marriage rate a ratio is calculated between the number of women contracting marriages and all the women in the age group and not only the non-married ones.

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Changes in marital status [e-publication].
ISSN=1797-643X. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 5.12.2022].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/ssaaty/kas_en.html