Finland was the first country in Europe to achieve universal suffrage in 1906. In principle, men and women from all social classes had the right to vote in parliamentary elections. However, the poor who were continuously receiving poor relief from their local municipality were excluded from the national vote. The extent to which these voting restrictions affected the elderly and women is still unknown. Because the elderly were more at risk of earning less income because of a failing capacity to work, it is likely that they were more often politically excluded. This study will assess the proportion of those who were excluded from the vote because they had received poor relief at the beginning of the 1910s. The historic statistics needed in the study are held at the National Archives of Finland. The results of the study will enhance our understanding of the age discriminatory nature of Finland’s universal suffrage.

Key words: vote, universal suffrage, elderly, care, socioeconomic position

Researcher: Elina Einiö

The living and housing conditions of individuals are likely to be influenced by different life events and social transitions at various life stages and even across generations. Leaving the parental home involves housing change by definition, and the timing and context of leaving, for example, has been shown to relate to young people’s future health and well-being. Previous research on the associations between family background and later living arrangements and housing remains relatively scarce. Housing studies have not fully embraced family issues, and housing issues are also seldom addressed in demographic and family studies. Finnish register-based individual-level data provides unique opportunities to combine these perspectives and study housing and living arrangement trajectories across the life-course. Furthermore, these trajectories can be linked to various health outcomes.

Key words: living arrangements, transition to adulthood, intergenerational effects, social inequalities

Researcher: Hanna Remes

Finnish criminal policy places a strong emphasis on the premise that preventing social exclusion reduces crime. Although existing register-based analyses demonstrate a strong association between measures of social disadvantage and crime, we don't currently know how these associations have changed during the recent past. The aim of this Academy of Finland -funded project (2018-2022) is to provide a comprehensive assessment of how criminal careers and sociodemographic backgrounds of persistent offenders have changed during 1987–2015. We analyze long-term conviction trajectories of different birth cohorts to see how lifetime conviction risks and criminal careers have changed. Next, we examine if sociodemographic factors associated with persistent offending and imprisonment have changed in this time frame, and whether offenders are becoming a more marginalized group. Finally, we provide new evidence on the effects of macroeconomic changes on the employment rates of offenders, and assess their vulnerability to such shocks.

Sociodemographic determinants of criminal careers in Finland 1987–2015 (CRIMCAR)

Key words: crime, violence, violent victimization, socioeconomic status

Researchers: Mikko Aaltonen, Joonas Pitkänen

This is a NordForsk-funded comparative research project on the social inequalities in health and well-being using unique register information on socioeconomic conditions, social security and health, available in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. It is a follow-up project implementing research made possible by the data infrastructure project C-LIFE. In the WELLIFE project we set to study three themes. First, we will study whether social policies, including labour market policies, modify the extent to which the onset of illness affects living conditions, in particular employment. For example, health data on cancer incidence and hospitalisation will be used to indicate types of ‘health shocks’. Second, we investigate the role of social policy in the extent to which ‘critical life events’, such as job loss, divorce or health shocks within the close family, translate into poor health and worse living conditions for parents and children. This part of the project will have a special interest in health and employment, but including other outcomes is important to understand the mechanisms at work. While these two objectives will provide new insights into the role of the welfare state in shaping the health-employment relationship, a key ambition is also to provide better understanding of the mechanisms at play in a life course and gender perspective on social inequality formation. The third objective is to analyse prevailing social trajectories experienced by people who fall ill, lose their job or experience divorce, etc. in different welfare settings.

NordForsk - WELLIFE

Researchers: Kaarina Korhonen, Heta Moustgaard, Lasse Tarkiainen, Niina Metsä-Simola