Wednesday, November 21, 2012

450th Anniversary of the Finnish Population Registers 1.9.1994

Finland’s present Population Information System is based on the integration of material compiled for two different purposes. Data on population in Finland has been registered for the needs of both the civil authorities and the churchsince the 16th century. This is when King Gustavus Vasa of Sweden launched administrative reforms and increased the efficiency of tax collection and military recruitment. For this purpose, land registers were established. Land registers specified the number of households, and their maintenance became established in the 1530s (the first one in Finland was the Åland Land Register of 1537). Maintenance of records of men fit for military service became established in the 1550s. 
Census lists – local population registers – have been maintained in Finland since 1634. Originally they were lists of persons paying poll tax. Later they became an administrative tool that also facilitated the determination of place of residence and military recruitment and acted as electoral registers and tax rolls. Until 1652, registration of population data was the task of the clergy, but subsequently it was designated as the task of land commissioners until 1779 and thereafter of census officers. The last census was held in 1989.
The church also introduced its own population register. The church records of Sweden-Finland are among the oldest population records in Europe. As early as 1628, the Bishop of Turku, Isaacus Rothovius, ordered that vicars must keep records of births, marriages and deaths. The order to maintain parish registers was extended to cover the entire country in the 1660s, and this was confirmed by the Church Act of 1686. Finland’s first population statistics, population tables, date back to 1750.

The Finnish Population Information System serves a variety of societal functions including election arrangements, taxation, judicial administration, administrative decision-making and planning, compilation of statistics, and research. Businesses and other organisations also have access to data collected in the Population Information System.
Thank you Pia for this nice FDC with the graphic stamp on it issued by Finland on 1.9.1994.

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