Finland is famous for a variety of reasons, one of those being that the country has its own law to respect the rights of young people. The Youth Act promotes social inclusion, opportunities to participate in the decision-making over matters of concern, development of individuals' abilities, improvement of living conditions, and access to free-time hobbies and youth work — to name a few. The Government Decree supports the implementation of the act by, for example, specifying the allocation of the duties involved at the national, regional and local levels.
The National Youth Work and Policy Programme has its basis in the Youth Act, but it is also informed by the Government Programme. The Government Programme for the year 2019-2023 'Inclusive and competent Finland – a socially, economically and ecologically sustainable society' includes the pledge for fair and equal treatment across generations and highlights participation and inclusion. The social inclusion and participation of children and young people will be promoted with digital means, and efforts will be made to improve their media literacy. According to the Government Programme, 'the main themes for the national programme for youth work and youth policy are to prevent social exclusion and bolster inclusion among young people.' The newest National Youth Work and Policy Programme was published in 2020 and is outlined in Youth Wiki/Finland 1.9 Current Debates and Reforms.
In addition, the Government has launched a national cross-administrative democracy programme extending until 2025. One of the key priorities of the democracy programme is to develop school teaching and other school practices, as well as to support children’s and young people’s ability to have a say in their local environment and society. (For more information, see Youth Wiki/Finland 5.5 National strategy to increase youth participation). Currently, the Youth Wiki chapters include information also about the earlier Government Programme, National Youth Work and Youth Policy Programme and Democracy Programme. For that perspective, all chapters will be updated in 2020-2021.
Like other countries, Finland is also currently suffering from the Covid-19 epidemic (see Government’s information and advice on the coronavirus). Youth employment has been strongly hit by the Covid-19 epidemic (see more in Youth Wiki/Finland 3. Employment and Entrepreneurship Overview). For that reason, the amount of study places in universities, for example, has been raised. At the same time, a reasonable amount of teaching activities at a variety of levels is being offered only online – in some regions, these periods of online activities have been months during 2020-2021. Moreover, the regular offer of face-to-face health services for young people, normally offered alongside educational services has been reduced (YLE NEWS 27.1.2021). Several organisations have reported that many are seeking online support. For the research project “How young people have experienced the time of Covid -19 epidemic, a thousand Finnish young people were interviewed. Those who report the negative impact of distance learning are those experiencing loneliness, those who have been hurt most by the restrictions regarding social contact, reported researcher Jenni Lahtinen from Finnish Youth Research Network (About the study in Finnish Yksinäisyys yhteydessä etäopetuksen kielteisiin kokemuksiin). In addition to employment, health, and education the Covid-19 epidemic will change the landscape of all public activities, and these changes will be progressively taken into account in all the chapters of Youth Wiki.
There are also some structural changes coming related to the organisation of public services in Finland. The Government is starting preparations for restructuring health and social services, taking into account the work done during previous electoral terms and making sure that relevant constitutional requirements are met. (For more information, see Youth Wiki/Finland 7.8 Current Debates and Reforms).
Ratio (%) of young people in the total population (2017): Eurostat, yth_demo_020 [data extracted on 4/09/2018].
Absolute number of young people on 1 January for the age group 15-29 (2017): Eurostat, yth_demo_010 [data extracted on 4/09/2018].
Ratio (%) of men and women in the youth population (2017): Eurostat, yth_demo_020 [data extracted on 4/09/2018].
Young immigrants from non-EU countries (2016): Eurostat, yth_demo_070 [data extracted on 4/09/2018].