Definition of Youth

Finland’s Youth Act (2006) and youth decree (2006) define youth as those under 29 years of age.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • --
  • ++
  • Female
  • 18
  • --
  • ++

  • No data for marriage with parental consent. Civil unions/partnerships legal. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Source:  Criminal Code of Finland

Majority Age


Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • -- Male (15-24) %
  • -- Female (15-24) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: UNESCO

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 92.09%Male %
  • 92.68% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • -- Male (13-15) %
  • -- Female (13-15) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
The youth policy of Finland is based on a youth act and decree and a 2012-2015 youth programme.

Finland’s Youth Act (72/2006) seeks to  

support young people’s growth and independence, to promote young people’s active citizenship and empowerment and to improve young people’s growth and living conditions.
It assigns responsibility for youth work and youth policy to the Ministry of Education (currently named the Ministry of Education and Culture).   The Act also mandates that the government adopt a youth policy development programme every four years, while the Decree on Youth Work and Youth Policy (2006) sets the scope for the programme, as well as other responsibilities of the Ministry responsible for youth policy.   The current Child and Youth Policy Programme 2012-2015 includes nine strategic goals relating to active citizenship, employment, non-discrimination, gender equality, education and health.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Youth Division within the Department for Cultural, Sport and Youth Policy of the Ministry of Education and Culture is currently responsible for youth policy in Finland. In line with the Youth Act (2006) and the Decree on Youth Work and Youth Policy (2006), the Ministry prepared the Child and Youth Policy Programme 2012-2015 in collaboration with other ministries. It is also responsible for appointing the Advisory Council for Youth Affairs, an expert body for youth work and policy, which is responsible for the annual evaluation of the youth policy programme.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The Finish Youth Cooperation (Allianssi) is the umbrella organisation for national youth organisations in Finland. Its purpose is  
to encourage young people to become responsible members of society and help them participate in decision-making processes and international activities.
It lobbies decision-makers, youth workers and youth organisations, and provides services directly to young people, such as the European Youth Card. It has an annual budget of EUR 3 million (USD 4.1 million), with 70% provided from the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
EUR 86.5 million
USD 118 million
According to the Administration website of the Ministry of Education and Culture, in 2013 the Ministry spent EUR 74 million (USD 101 million) on youth work and EUR 12.5 million (USD 17.1 million) on supporting national youth organisations, for a total of approximately EUR 86.5 million (USD 118 million). According to the World Bank, Finland spent 12.26% of its government expenditure and 6.84% of its GDP on education provision in 2010.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank

Additional Background

From Country Sheet on Youth Policy in Finland (2011):  
Regional public authorities with competencies in the youth field
Finnish regional administration comprises five provinces and 19 regions. Youth work and the coordination of youth policies at the regional level are the responsibility of provincial state offices under the guidance of the Ministry of Education and Culture. Their duties relate to young people's employment (e.g. youth workshops), income, housing, education and training, health and leisure activities. They do the regional monitoring, evaluation and development of young people’s growth and living conditions. Provincial youth services are also responsible for evaluation of basic municipal youth services. Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY) operate in close collaboration with local authorities and local state authorities.
Reform Project for Regional Administration (ALKU-hanke) was completed by 2010. The aim of the project was to create a system of State regional administration, which builds on citizens’ and customers’ needs and works in an effective and productive way.
Local public authorities with competencies in the youth field
Finland is the most decentralised country in the European Union. Municipalities have local governments with far-reaching powers, a fairly independent economy – with the right to tax the income of their residents – a total budget over 30 billion euro, and a personnel of more than 430,000. The project to restructure local government and services (PARAS-hanke), launched in 2005, has far reaching impact on the municipal service system. Municipal mergers which became effective in the beginning of 2009 diminished the number of municipalities being 336 at the end of 2010 (in 2008 it was over 400).
The objectives of youth work are stated in the youth act, but the implementation of youth work is the responsibility of local authorities, youth associations and other organizations doing youth work. Municipalities decide independently on the methods and implementation of youth work. Youth services may also be produced by local authorities in cooperation. They receive a state subsidy from the Ministry of Education. [...]
Youth NGOs
Youth NGOs play significant role in Finnish youth work and policy. The Ministry of Education and Culture supports annually about a hundred youth organisations with about 12 million euros. The Youth Organisation Subsidy Committee (Nuorisojärjestöjen arviointi- ja avustustoimikunta), whose members are nominated by youth organisations, submits annually a proposal to the Ministry for state subsidies to be allocated to national youth organisations. It also evaluates and develops the subsidy system. Some of the biggest NGOs are:
- In terms of membership, the largest youth organisations are various student organisations, and schoolchildren’s organisations.
- KEPA, or the Service Centre for Development Cooperation, is a service base for Finnish NGOs interested in development work and global issues. Over 200 such organisations belong to KEPA. These organisations vary greatly in character – large and small, local and national, professional and ideological. KEPA itself is a politically and ideologically non-aligned organisation that operates with funding from the Finnish foreign ministry.
- The Mannerheim League for Child Welfare (Mannerheimin Lastensuojeluliitto) is an NGO promoting the wellbeing of children and of families with children, and seeing that children's views are taken into account in public decision-making. It is the largest child welfare organization in Finland with more than 90 000 members and 565 local associations throughout the country.