Finland’s Pandemic Babies Boost Bleak Population Forecast
(Bloomberg) -- Finland’s dismal population forecasts were just served with a surprise twist: a pandemic baby boom that many expected but few countries witnessed.
A sudden increase in births in 2020 and 2021 brought some optimism into the projections, which now show a peak in the Nordic country’s population at 5.6 million in 2034, three years later than forecast in 2019, Statistics Finland said on Thursday.
The speculation that lockdowns and pandemic restrictions would spur births appears to have been borne out in some northern European counties, including Finland, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. Even so, research shows reduced fertility during pandemics, as experienced in the U.S. during the onset of Covid-19.
Still, 2021 is the sixth year in a row when deaths will exceed births in Finland. Current levels of net immigration will be able to sustain the population for 13 more years, before the number of people will begin to shrink.
There’s no easy fix to keep up the numbers. There’s no consensus on why births had been falling -- or why they suddenly increased. What’s more, luring people to move to the country of freezing temperatures, dark winters and an excruciatingly difficult language is made even harder by layers of red tape in the immigration system.
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A sustained decline in the number of births will, over the decades, result in older generations becoming much larger than younger age cohorts, putting pressure on the pension system.
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