Average Finnish MP: Highly Educated, Well-off, 40-something Family Man
The typical Finnish Member of Parliament is not representative of the average Finn, according to Statistics Finland.
Failed Oulu Kokoomus MP Lyly Rajala’s election slogan was ‘Man and Voice.’ According to Statistics Finland, the average Finnish legislator is indeed a man, fifty-eight percent of MPs are despite women making up over half of the electorate. But, in fact, a lot more can be said about him.
The average member of the new Eduskunta is a 45 year old man earning, assuming he’s a new MP, about 40, 000 euros per year until the election, in a full time job, putting him in the highest tax bracket. He has a Masters degree, he is married and he has two biological children.
Naturally, his native language is Finnish. According to Statistics Finland, three percent of candidates had a foreign background – defined as having a native language other than Finnish, Finland Swedish or Saami. None of them were elected but the Swedish People’s Party had the highest proportion of foreign candidates, 8.4 percent. Of those entitled to vote, 1.3 percent have a foreign background meaning foreign candidates were over-represented in every party apart from True Finns, where 0.8 percent of the candidates were foreign.
Nationwide, the average MP, at around 45, leaves those under 29 and over 60 substantially under-represented in parliament. The average MP is slightly younger than the average voter. Those aged 40 to 49 are seventeen percent of the voters but 33 percent of MPs. The under-30s are 18 percent of the population and five percent of MPs.
Ninety percent of elected MPs were ‘employed’ with only a tiny fraction being ‘students’ or ‘pensioners.’ Of those entitled to vote, less than half are full time employed. True Finns, with 66 percent, fielded the lowest portion of candidates in full time employment. They also fielded the highest number of pensioners, at almost 16 percent, and unemployed people.
While 26 percent of voters are currently ‘married,’ they make up 46 percent of MPs. Thirty-four percent of MPs have two children, compared to 28 percent of the population having this number. MPs, in general, seem to have a higher number of children than the average person does.
They are also considerably more educated. 8.4 percent of voters have a Masters or higher, compared to 46 percent of MPs. The party with the most university graduate candidates was the Greens (50 percent), while the least was found amongst the Left Alliance, closely followed by True Finns (both less than twenty percent).
They are also part of the financial elite. The average income in Finland is about 20,000 euros a year. The average person elected was on 82,000 euros. However, just assessing the candidates, the average salary was 40,000 euros a year, still double the average. Kokoomus candidates earned the most, Left Alliance the least.