HELSINKI, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- Finnish population will start declining in 2035. This is the conclusion in a population prognosis released by Statistics Finland on Friday. Year 2018 will be the third year on succession of more deaths than births.
Specialist Markus Rapo at Statistics Finland told national broadcaster Yle that immigration has a key positive role in the predictions. Without the calculated 15,000-person-increase annually through immigration, the prediction would be much more negative.
Net immigration would keep Finnish population increasing until a 2035 peak of 5.62 million. In 2050 there will be fewer residents than today, Rapo said.
In their economic repercussions, the envisaged low birthrates will initially slow down the worsening of the "dependency rate". At the end of last year there were 60 minors or seniors for each 100 working age residents.
"With fewer children expected, there will be fewer young dependents to be taken care of than expected. But when smaller cohorts of children reach working age, the dependency rate will weaken dramatically, Rapo said.
The dependency rate will be 62 to 100 in 2020 and 81 to 100 in 2070.
Birth rate in Finland has declined by a fifth in seven years. In 2010 the rate was 1.87. Last year it was 1.49 and the prediction for 2018 is 1.43.
Commenting on the population figures, Prime Minister Juha Sipila said on Friday that he was surprised with the prediction.
Sipila said the low birthrates must be the sum of several factors. He mentioned the small flats and high cost of them in the Helsinki area as one reason.
Sipila told reporters in parliament the next government should be able to enact a family support reform. The current coalition gave up plans for a reform that would have improved the employment of mothers through sharing the family leave equally between mothers and fathers.
Anneli Miettinen, the leading population researcher at Kela, the Finnish National Institute for Welfare, raised the labor market situation of women as the main reason for the decline in birthrate.
"The employment of women affects decisions on having children," Miettinen told Yle. "The temporary job of a woman is a greater obstacle to giving birth," she said. "The situation is difficult if re-entry to the labor market is uncertain."
Under Finnish law, a woman with a permanent job cannot be denied a return to her work after maternity leave, but there is no requirement to again hire a woman whose contract has expired during the legal maternity leave.