Finnish economists have expressed their deep concerns about the latest population forecast for Finland.
Statistics Finland on Friday reported that the country’s population is expected to grow, driven by immigration, until it reaches 5.62 million in 2035, before starting to shrink and declining below the current level in the 2050s.
“The population will start to decline as soon as in 2035. The previous forecast indicated that the growth would continue at least until 2065,” Timo Vesala, the chief economist at Savings Bank Finland, highlighted on Twitter.
“The ‘strength calculations’ of the welfare state will be truly put to the test. There were concerns about the number of working-age people already because of the previous population forecast, but wait until you see the new forecast – down by 200,000 by 2050 and by 460 by 2070. Productivity growth will be needed,” he added.
Statistics Finland also revealed that the under 15-year-old population is projected to decline to roughly 760,000 by 2030, if the fertility rate remains at its current record-low level, and further below 700,000 in the 2050s. The working-age population, in turn, is forecast to decrease by 57,000 by 2030, having already decreased by over 100,000 between 2010 and 2018.
Mauri Kotamäki, the chief economist at Finland Chamber of Commerce, warned that the trend of the fertility rate will have massive ramifications for the long-term balance of the public economy.
Minister of Finance Petteri Orpo (NCP) similarly conceded that the population forecast will necessitate that the sustainability deficit projections that have steered policy making will “unfortunately” have to be updated.