Sakari Karvonen

Sakari Karvonen.

Name: Sakari Karvonen
Job title: Research professor
Tel: +358 29 524 7449
E-mail: [email protected]


  • Inequalities in young people’s well-being
  • Socioeconomic and regional variations in health, welfare and living conditions
  • Social monitoring
  • Indicators of social sustainability and welfare

Primary duties

  • Research on social and health inequalities in the population, particularly young people
  • Member of unit (Welfare State Research and Reform) management group
  • Team Vice-chair (Social Sustainability)
  • Research on Social reporting and monitoring


  • 1998, Adjunct professor (docent) in Medical Sociology, University of Helsinki
  • 1998, Doctor of Political Science, Sociology, University of Helsinki
  • 1994, Licentiate of Political Science, Sociology, University of Helsinki
  • 1989, Master of Political Science, Sociology, University of Helsinki

Work experience

  • THL, Research professor, 2012–
  • THL, Director of department, 2010–14
  • THL and STAKES, Head of unit, 2006-08
  • STAKES, senior researcher, 2002–05

Language skills

  • Finnish (native)
  • Swedish (good)
  • English (excellent)
  • German (fair)

Current projects

  • Addressing the smoking paradox in the etiology of COVID-19 through population-based studies (Tobrisk-Cov)
  • Youth services at a crossroads - mapping the challenges of youth social services in Wellbeing services counties (NUPAT)
  • CLIMATE NUDGE – Social acceptability of climate nudges
  • Health and heat in the changing climate – social and economic determinants (HEATCLIM)
  • Development of social monitoring and reporting in Finland
  • The Healthy Finland Survey – living conditions group

Professional memberships

  • Associate Editor of periodical Frontiers in Sociology
  • Review Editor of periodical Frontiers in Public Health
  • Board member of periodical Yhteiskuntapolitiikka (“Society & Politics”)

Selected Publications

Scientific research articles

  • Kärkkäinen S, Mesiäislehto M, Sirniö O, Karvonen S, Kauppinen T. The role of social transfers in mitigating families with children from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Int J Social Welfare 2022, 1–17., Early view

  • Karvonen S, Moisio P, Vepsäläinen K, Ollonqvist J. Assessing health gradient with different equivalence scales for household income – A sensitivity analysis. SSM - Population Health 2021, 15, 100892

  • Parikka S, Martelin T, Karvonen S, Levälahti E, Kestilä L, Laatikainen T. Early childhood family background predicts meal frequency behaviour in children: Five-year follow-up study. Scand J Public Health. December 2021. doi:10.1177/14034948211058544

  • Lumme S, Manderbacka K, Arffman M, Karvonen S, Keskimäki I. Cumulative social disadvantage and hospitalisations due to ambulatory care-sensitive conditions in Finland in 2011─2013: a register study BMJ Open 2020, 10:e038338.  doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-038338

  • Kortesoja L, Vainikainen M-P, Hotulainen R, Rimpelä A, Dobewall H, Lindfors P, Karvonen S, Merikanto I. Bidirectional Relationship of Sleep with Emotional and Behavioral Difficulties: A Five-year Follow-up of Finnish Adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence 2020.

  • Karvonen S, Kestilä L, Rimpelä A. Accumulated Disadvantage over the Lower Secondary School Years in Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Finland. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2020, 17, 2290; doi:10.3390/ijerph17072290

  • Dobewall H, Kinnunen J, Lindfors P, Koivusilta L, Karvonen S, Vainikainen MP, Rimpelä A. Late start of upper secondary education and health-compromising behaviours among Finnish adolescents – a follow up study. European Journal of Public Health 2019,

  • Pieper R, Karvonen S, Vaarama M.  The SOLA Model: A Theory-Based Approach to Social Quality and Social Sustainability. Social Indicators Research 2019.

  • Minkkinen J, Hotulainen R, Karvonen S, Kinnunen J, Lindfors P, Rimpelä A. Low schoolwork engagement and schoolwork difficulties predict smoking in adolescence. European Journal of Public Health, 29(1), February 2019, Pages 44–49,

  • Karvonen S, Tokola K, Rimpelä A. Wellbeing and academic achievement – differences between schools from 2002 to 2010 in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. Journal of School Health 2018,

  • Karvonen S, Kestilä L, Mäki-Opas T.  Who needs sociology of health and illness? - A new agenda. Perspective. Frontiers in Sociology, 2018,3:4l. doi: 10.3389/fsoc.2018.00004

  • Aaltonen, Sanna & Karvonen, Sakari (2015) Floating downstream? Family background, parental support and future expectations of young people living on the margins. Sociology 50(4), 714-730.

Book contributions

  • Karvonen S, Saikkonen P & Kestilä L. Lopuksi: Monimuotoinen hyvinvointi ja muuttuva hyvinvointivaltio. [Conclusion: Diverse welfare and the changing welfare state] In: Sakari Karvonen, Laura Kestilä, Paula Saikkonen (eds.): Suomalaisten hyvinvointi 2022. Helsinki, THL 2022, 352-361
  • Kärkkäinen S, Mesiäislehto M, Sirniö O, Karvonen S, Kauppinen TM. Etuudet tasoittivat korona-ajan palkkatulomenetyksiä lapsiperheissä. [Benefits levelled off wage income losses in families with children during the Covid-19 period] Tutkimuksesta tiiviisti 23/2022. Suomen sosiaalinen tila 2/2022.
  • Karvonen S, Martelin T, Kestilä L, Junna L. Tulotason mukaiset terveyserot ovat edelleen suuria. [Health inequalities by income remain high] Tutkimuksesta tiiviisti: 2017_016; Suomen sosiaalinen tila 3/2017,

Edited works

  • Karvonen, Sakari & Kestilä, Laura & Saikkonen, Paula (eds.) (2022) Suomalaisten hyvinvointi 2022 (Welfare in Finland 2022). THL. In Finnish.
  • Karvonen, Sakari & Kestilä, Laura & Mäki-Opas, Tomi (eds.) (2017) Terveyssosiologian linjoja (Sociology of Health: Research Lines). Gaudeamus. In Finnish.