What is the reason why the birth rate has fallen by nearly one-third since 2010 in Finland, which has adopted family-friendly policies?

Finland's birth rate, which has attracted attention due to its rising birth rate, increasing proportion of women in the labor force, and support measures for parents, has fallen to nearly one-third of what it was in 2010 as of 2024. Anna Rotkirch, Research Director at the Population Research Institute of the Finnish Family Federation, explained why no results were achieved.

Birth rates are falling in the Nordics. Are family-friendly policies no longer enough?


The trend of declining birth rates has been confirmed all over the world, and even in India, which is known for its population growth, the birth rate has fallen below the theoretical population replacement level and has begun to decline.

In Finland, there is a system called `` Neuvola '' which supports the growth and development of children and the mental and physical health of families, and an ``Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) '' system which provides child allowances and pre-school education. Although there are many support measures for children and their parents, such as child support programs, the birth rate is still declining significantly.

According to a survey by Rotkirch et al., less than 1 in 20 Finns born in the late 1970s and 1980s answered that they did not want to have children at the age of 25; For those born in the early 1990s, this rate rose to nearly one in four.

In the past, in most societies, there was a value that ``having children is necessary for becoming an adult,'' but as of 2024, this has changed to ``children are people who already have everything else.'' Mr. Rotkirch points out that the value system seems to be replacing that of ``something owned by people.''

In other words, what used to be thought of as ``giving birth to a child in order to solidify the foundation of one's livelihood'' is now changing to the idea that ``one can only have a child once one has solidified the foundation of one's livelihood.'' That seems to be the case.

According to Rotkirch, the decline in birth rates is not due to economic conditions or family policies, but to cultural and psychological factors. Therefore, although Finland's family support policy may have had an effect on families with children, it seems that it has not led to the original purpose of increasing the birth rate.

However, there are many young people who want to have children but have not had them, and these people have the opinion that they are busy with so many things to do, They are being forced to choose between taking a job, securing free time, and building a career.

As for what the government can do to address this issue, Rotkirch said: 'Better jobs, more affordable housing, clear signals that people who take parental leave won't face discrimination in the workplace. There are many things that can be done, such as issuing a message.'

'Governments should not be telling young people to have children for the sake of the economy,' Rotkirch said. 'Instead, they should be sending messages that reassure them about their future.' But he also respected the choice not to have children, saying that many people could be perfectly happy without becoming parents.

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