Families and parenthood

Finnish families are diverse. As a result of the legislative changes in the 2000s, rainbow families are more commonly seen in the statistics. However, many tasks within the family are still divided according to the roles considered typical of women and men. 

Different family types 

According to Statistics Finland, the most common type of family with children at the end of 2022 still included a married couple, which accounted for 55 percent of families with children. The next most common type of family with children were those that included cohabiting couples and families consisting of a mother and children. The proportion of father and children families was nearly four percent. Married women or women in registered partnerships were the parents in 999 families and married men or men in a registered partnership were the parents in 18 families.

Family leave use and expenses

According to Kela's statistics on benefits for families with children, men accounted for 43 percent of all parental allowances paid in 2022, but they only took 12 percent of parental allowance days. One-fifth of fathers do not take family leave at all. 

After parental leave, 82 percent of families use child home care allowance for at least some period of time. The child is almost always cared for by one of their own parents, who is nearly always the mother (92 %). 

The risks that family leave pose to career development, pay development and pensions mainly affect women. 

Division of care responsibility and household chores

Women do more public and private care work than men. The majority of single parents and informal carers are women. 

Regardless of their family status, women do more household chores than men. Women are more likely to be responsible for cleaning and cooking than men, whereas men are more often responsible for maintenance and repair work than women. The difference between the time that women and men spend on household chores has decreased in the 2000s.

Divorce and custody

In a divorce situation, the majority of parents agree on matters related to the child's housing, care and visitation rights. A total of 77 percent of the child custody agreements confirmed by social services in 2021 involved agreement on shared custody, while sole custody was awarded to the mother in twenty percent and to the father in three percent of the cases.  

Despite of the increasing frequency of living alternately with both parents, the law states that a child may have only one official place of residence. Fathers are less likely than mothers to be the resident parent for children.