Finland’s demographic timebomb
March 20, 2019 - Finland faces growing pressures of an ageing and shrinking population, with one in three people being older than 65 by 2070. The Nordic nation saw its death rate eclipse its birth rate in 2016.
Finland’s coalition government resigned on March 8, saying it could not deliver on a healthcare reform package. Global healthcare systems have come under increasing stress in recent years as treatment costs soar and people live longer, meaning fewer workers are supporting more pensioners.
Finland already has a highly cost-effective health care. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), it costs €3,013 ($4,170) per capita per year, compared with $10,210 in the U.S.
However, economists argue that the next government will need to create at least 100,000 new jobs and boost employment levels to 75 per cent of the working age population to keep public finances in check. OECD data show there were five working age people to support each person over the age of 65 in the 1990s, and this has now fallen to below three.
Prime Minister Juha Sipila’s centre-right coalition attempted to tackle the health-care dilemma by seeking a more significant role for the private sector while drastically cutting the number of local authorities involved in administering services.
Finland’s health sector received high marks in an international report, The Global Burden of Disease study, published last year by medical journal The Lancet. The quality of h