Social policy has largely prevented poverty in Finland. In terms of poverty rate and life satisfaction, the Finnish rankings are excellent from a comparative point of view. The Finnish income redistribution system has in fact proved to be one of the most efficient in the European Union when it comes to poverty reduction. Still, although there is no absolute poverty in Finland, relative poverty prevails. Generally speaking, of those who have experienced poverty, one-third are subject to persistent poverty, another third to occasional poverty and a final third to borderline poverty. During recent years and due to the economic crisis, the number of people exposed to long-term unemployment has been increasing, and this, of course, adds to the general level of poverty. Interestingly, there is a strong consensus in the Finnish population on the causes of poverty, as Finns have blamed the flaws and inadequacies of the labor market and thus emphasize a structural explanation of poverty. The National Action Programme of Finland, within the framework of the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion 2010, identifies the following key objectives: enhancing child welfare, reducing health inequalities, combating the risk of poverty of older women living on national pensions, as well as structural unemployment affecting elderly men in particular.
Mikko Niemelä,“Perceptions of the Causes of Poverty in Finland”, Acta Sociologica, 2008, vol. 51, nr 1, pp. 23-40.
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 2009. The National Action Programme of Finland. http://www.stm.fi/c/document_library/get_file?folderId=336356&name=DLF E-9350.pdf