FUTURE Finland’s welfare society is dependent on work-related immigration, says the population forecast published by the Helsinki-based regional development consultant MDI.
MDI considered on Friday that internationalization is the best solution to the challenges of labor shortage and population aging, and immigration is probably a prerequisite for providing the services needed by the aging population.
Expert Rasmus Aro said that Finland should increase its relative net income from immigration to Sweden’s level by 2040.
“According to Finland’s internationalization scenario, immigration gains from abroad in relation to the population would increase to Sweden’s current level by 2040. That would require that immigration gains from abroad rise from the current 15,000 to 35,000 per year,” he said. quoted saying At Helsingin Sanomat’s press conference.
According to Aro, achieving the goal would mean an increase in the employment rate of 3.6 percentage points, as long as the level of immigrants is raised to the level of the native population.
“It is not a silver bullet that alone can fix the labor shortage. We also need other measures to, for example, raise the employment rate, extend working careers, and increase work productivity and automation.
Other demographic scenarios drawn up by the consultant are Finland’s decentralization and urbanization. For example, the capital region of Finland may be a watershed depending on whether the migration flows released by the coronavirus pandemic to other parts of the country accelerate or whether metropolitan urbanization returns to the pre-pandemic normal.
“The growth rate of the capital region largely depends on whether internal migration flows return to pre-pandemic levels or not,” it reads. press release from MDI. “Outside large urban areas, the population is shrinking at a varying pace. Especially in rural municipalities and local population centers, the population is in danger of falling sharply, despite the twilight of migration flows during the pandemic.
The forecast is increasingly pessimistic regarding population aging and its impact on labor supply.
For example, the number of people over 85 is predicted to almost triple in the next 20 years in the Kerava and Vantaa welfare municipalities. The number at least doubles in all new counties, which increases the demand for elderly care professionals.
MDI predicts that most of the 21 welfare service municipalities that will start operating at the beginning of next year have stopped. The emergence of regional differences is expected to accelerate and the importance of location, educational opportunities and good transport links will grow.
“The population will grow relatively strongly mainly due to immigration in Uusimaa’s welfare service municipalities. In Pirkanmaa and Varsinais Suomi, the population is growing significantly thanks to the attraction of Tampere and Turku,” commented Aro.
The provinces associated with modest population growth are Central Finland, Northern Ostrobothnia and Ostrobothnia.
“Development will be very challenging in other municipalities. The population is in danger of shrinking dramatically.”
Aro drew attention to the fact that the big picture of population development is the same in all scenarios outlined by MDI. The development moderates only in the scenario of an internationalizing Finland.
“The reason is that the engine of population development is not migration but the age structure. More people die in South Savo than are born, and in Helsinki more people are born than die. This creates a difference between the regions, and the difference will only become more pronounced in the future.
The urbanization trend of the capital region is predicted to slow down in the decentralization scenario, when the migration trends caused by the pandemic will become the new norm. The scenario would bring population growth to many municipalities in Lapland, make Tampere a stronger competitor to Helsinki, and benefit Kuopio and Oulu, for example.
The reversal of migration flows observed during the pandemic was a massive, dramatic change, Aro described: “The capital region has recovered a little during this year, but it is still at a historically weak level.”
MDI does not expect the urbanization of big cities to continue at the pre-pandemic pace in any scenario.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT