Lapland sees a population decline that will continue for years to come

Inari, Lapland. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)
Finland’s northernmost region lost almost 500 inhabitants in the ten months period from January to November 2020.

There are now 176,676 residents in Lapland, according to data from Statistics Finland.

And there seems to be no end to the decline, according to estimates made by the consulting company Perlacon. The population of Lapland will decrease by 9,600 people in the 12-year period from 2018 to 2030. The study is reported by the regional newspaper Lapin Kansa.

The decline is overall, but villages and the country-side see the most significant drop.

The region’s largest city, though, continues to grow. Rovaniemi’s populations increased by 478 people in the 10-month period. That is a growth a little higher than the usual increase which has been of about 300 people annually over the past 10 years.

There are now 63,548 inhabitants in Rovaniemi, and the demographic structure shows the largest age group to be 15-24 years old, explained by the city’s educational institutions like the University of Lapland.

Christmas in Rovaniemi. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)

Another municipality with growth is Kolari, where the ski resort village of Ylläs has got more inhabitants. The growth was by 68 in the municipality over the January to November period.

Lapland as such sees the same trend as most remote northern regions: Young people move out. The statistics show the age group of 17-28 at the top of people moving out of the region, but it is also the same age group that tops those moving to the region. Half of the students at the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi, for instance, are from other regions of Finland or from abroad.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Housing crisis in Canada’s east-Arctic worsens as homes become too old to live in, CBC News

Finland: Finland’s population could begin falling in 2031, Yle News

Norway: Population declining in Arctic Norway, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Abandoned properties a challenge for rural Sweden, Radio Sweden

United States: Understanding Alaska’s growing senior population, Alaska Public Media

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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