Helsinki
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Quarterly 3/2013 |  03/13/2013Pekka Vuori

Development of young population groups in Helsinki

In Helsinki, the number of young people aged 12 to 29 began to increase strongly during the recession of the 1990s, and today there are nearly a quarter, 30,000 people, more of them than in 1993. At first, the growth was influenced by the Act on the Municipality of Domicile of 1994, which enabled students temporarily residing in the area to register there. However, the growth has also continued in the 21st century, even though the younger age groups have temporarily decreased in size in that time.

There are 150,000 young people aged 12 to 29 living in Helsinki, nearly 120,000 of whom are Finnish-speakers, 9,000 are Swedish-speakers and over 21,000 have another native language.

260,000 young people live in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and a total of 323,000 in the 14 municipalities of the Helsinki Region, amounting to 27.5 per cent of all young people and young adults in Finland. A slightly higher proportion, 30 per cent, of the country’s Swedish-speaking youth live in the Helsinki Region. The speakers of other native languages, in particular, are highly concentrated in the Helsinki Region; over half of Finland’s foreign-language young people live in the region, and over a quarter live in the City of Helsinki.

In Helsinki, the number of young people aged 12 to 29 began to increase strongly during the recession of the 1990s, and today there are nearly a quarter, 30,000 people, more of them than in 1993. At first, the growth was influenced by the Act on the Municipality of Domicile of 1994, which enabled students temporarily residing in the area to register there. However, the growth has also continued in the 21st century, even though the younger age groups have temporarily decreased in size in that time.

The increase in the number of young people is a result of several factors. In recent years, Helsinki has not had a migration loss of families with children moving to neighbouring municipalities at the level of the early 2000s. People aged 25 to 29 are also more likely to stay in Helsinki than before. The city is experiencing a steady migration gain from the rest of the country with young adults coming here to study or work after the economic recession in the region in the early 2000s. Immigration is boosting the numbers of both school-age children and young adults significantly more than before.

Population projection

The number of lower comprehensive school aged children reached its peak in 2001. It then decreased by 5,000 pupils by 2010, but began to grow again after that. According to the projection, the previous peak level will be regained in 2017, and the age group will continue to grow strongly. By 2025, there should be 9,000 more lower comprehensive school-age children than today. The number of upper comprehensive school aged people took a downturn in 2006 and has since decreased by 2,100. However, that number will begin to increase again next year.

The age group of secondary school pupils aged 15 to 17 peaked in 2009, and has since decreased by 1,100. The bottom will be reached 2017, after which this age group will also start growing. After 2025, the growth will once again overtake the peak level of 2009. The total number of young people aged 12 to 17 is forecast to keep decreasing until 2016 and subsequently increase until the late 2030s. At that point, the number of young people in this age group will exceed 40,000, which is 11,000 more than the current figure.

The number of young adults aged 18 to 24 rapidly increased in Helsinki between 2005 and 2012. Their number is forecast to diminish as new, smaller age groups come of age. The population will decrease from the current 62,000 to 54,000 by the beginning of the 2020s. The number of people aged 25 to 29 is also projected to increase until the end of this decade, but then decrease quickly in a similar manner. However, these age groups are the largest groups moving to Helsinki. Over half the people moving into the city belong to these groups, and fluctuations in the number of in-migrants quickly affect the size of these age groups.

The number of Swedish speakers aged 12 to 17 has now begun to decrease but will start to rise again in 2016. The number of those aged 18 to 24 is growing more quickly than forecast, but the growth is predicted to end in a few years’ time. The increase in the number of Swedish-speakers aged 25 to 29 is accelerating. However, the proportion of Swedish-speaking youth of the entire demographic is expected to increase from the current 6 per cent.

The increase in the number of foreign-language youth aged 18–29 has accelerated significantly since 2005, due to an increase in foreign immigration. The growth has been especially fast in the 25 to 29 age group, since most of the people moving in are that age. However, in the future, the fastest growing group will be those aged 12 to 17, whose number will double by 2030.  

The proportion of foreign-language residents aged 12 to 29 is currently almost 15 per cent of the age group, and is predicted to exceed 20 per cent in the early 2020s. In the Helsinki eastern major district, the proportion of foreign-language youth is nearly one quarter of all young people.

However, it must be noted that, in many bilingual families, children who are registered as foreign-language speakers also speak Finnish or Swedish in practice.

Young people in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area

The high concentrations of 12- to 18-year olds in Helsinki are located in the suburbs, especially those built in the 1990s and 2000s and in Eastern Helsinki in particular. On the other hand, there are many young people living in the densely built inner city, although families with children compose a smaller proportion of households there. Naturally, many young people living at home live in residential areas where most housing is family housing, separating the densely built areas from the more spacious areas in the city outskirts.

Young people aged 19 to 24, who are often moving to live on their own, primarily settle in the inner city, where there are many small flats available to rent or buy. People moving to Helsinki from other parts of the country usually find their first homes in the inner city and in student housing in the suburbs. Because of the nature of Helsinki’s housing stock, with a large number of blocks of flats and small flats also in the suburbs, many housing options are available for young people.

Throughout the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, single-family neighbourhoods are typically areas which young people leave when they grow up, because the housing stock in these areas is usually not suitable for young people moving into their first own flat.

Pekka Vuori is Project Manager at City of Helsinki Urban Facts.

Sources:

Helsingin ja Helsingin seudun väestöennuste 2014–2050 (Population projection for Helsinki and the Helsinki region 2014–2050), City of Helsinki Urban Facts, Tilastoja 2013:29

Helsingin seudun vieraskielisen väestön ennuste 2013–2030 (Projection for the foreign-language population in the Helsinki region 2013–2030), City of Helsinki Urban Facts, Tilastoja 2013:5  

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