At the end of 2019, 14 per cent of 15-29 year olds in Finland lived in Helsinki. This makes 133 777 young or young adults. Every fifth of Helsinki resident belongs to this age group.
What do we know about these young people’s welfare? Well, we have statistics on how many are unemployed, how many have been accepted for an education, how many are clients of the council’s child protection services, etc. Nonetheless, it is difficult to form an overall view of young people’s lives and welfare.
Municipalities are obliged by the Finnish Youth Act (7§) to form a coordination network for counselling and planning the services for the young. The network shall include representatives of the local authorities for education, social & health care and youth work and of the employment and policy authorities.
In Helsinki, the network was established in 2014, and its tasks include, for example, gathering information on young people’s welfare and living conditions and, drawing on that information, to evaluate the situation of the young with a view to back up local planning and policy making. The president of the network in Helsinki is the Deputy Mayor in charge of this sector.
The network gave Helsinki City Urban Research and Statistics and the Youth Department the task to write, in cooperation with the people concerned, an annual report on young people’s welfare in Helsinki. The aim of the Report on Young People’s Welfare in Helsinki is to consolidate facts-based policy-making and thereby create better public services for the young. We therefore set out to present easily accessible open information that is updated regularly, and set up this website with its background database.
Our idea of young people’s welfare is based on Amartya Sen’s and Martha Nussbaum’s capability approach, and we put the question whether young people have the skills and opportunities to cope in everyday life, to do things that they value and to have a good life. Do we perhaps find groups of young people that have unequal opportunities for a good life? In our work, we divided welfare into eight aspects: life and health, self development, managing the future, safety, emotions and interaction, active citizenship, equality, and nature and sustainability.
The website includes statistics, research, experts’ opinions and the experiences of young people themselves. By matching these sources of information we try to form an overall picture of young people’s situation in Helsinki. At present, there are around 40 indicators on the website. These indicators have been selected from existing data (registers/surveys) that are updated regularly and they may be both objective or subjective. An additional value of the indicator section is analyses written by various experts.
Check out one experience story in English here.
The pages also include a summary of various research conducted on young people in Helsinki, as also the opportunity to set up blogs on the subject. The pages include around 50 interviews with young people. The stories show an interaction between the experiences of the young and statistics and research. This part was carried out with external funding by journalists having some researcher background. Furthermore, we developed a tool that groups of young people may use to reflect over what things in life are important: http://nuortenkokemustieto.munstadi.fi/materiaalit/
We also developed a processmodel for facts-based policy-making and developing. To be able to use the varied information of the Welfare Report it is important to understand and be able to interpret all the information available. To facilitate the process, we organize seminars for this purpose, and each year the network makes suggestions as to what aspects should be done something about.
Please have a look at the database that is linked to the indicators. It is continuously updated as new information becomes available. www.hyvinvointitilastot.fi (Helsinki - welfare statistics in Finnish)
If you need information in English, please contact: Hanna Ahtiainen, City of Helsinki, Urban Research and Statistics, firstname.lastname@example.org