The data and the methodology


Information on the population with foreign background has previously been available from register data or interview surveys concerning only certain immigrant groups. No interview survey with as extensive content as the Survey on work and well-being among persons of foreign origin has been made earlier on the total population with foreign background living in Finland. First of all, the survey covered the entire population with foreign background and not only the biggest groups, second, its data content was exceptionally large, and third, it produced totally new information as personally reported by those with foreign background on several themes, such as reasons for immigration, educational structure, employment, health and quality of life.

The UTH survey is the result of wide national cooperation. It was financed by the Ministry of the Interior's integration fund, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the Ministry of Education and Culture, and the survey was planned by the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Statistics Finland and the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. Significant benefits were attained by combining competence and resources (see a separate report on cooperation in monitoring integration of immigrants; in Finnish only). The project is also connected to other population surveys[1], on account of which the results can be compared with corresponding data on the population with Finnish background and partly with data from other EU countries as well.

Statistics Finland was responsible for collecting the data and preparing the survey data. The research report, which was published in December 2015, was written by researchers from Statistics Finland, the National Institute for Health and Welfare and the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.


A random sample of 5,449 persons among the population aged 15 to 64 with foreign background, whose both parents (or the only known parent) had been born outside Finland, was drawn from Statistics Finland's database on the population of Finland. The target group thus comprised persons born in Finland, those having lived here for a short or long time, and persons who had already been granted Finnish citizenship. Sixty-six per cent of those belonging to the sample took part in the interview, which can be considered a good result.


Statistics Finland's interviewers conducted face-to-face interviews that lasted one hour, on average. In addition to permanent statistical interviewers, Statistics Finland recruited nine interviewers with foreign background, who were involved in developing practices for the implementation and communication about interviews with persons with immigrant background. In addition to interview work, interviewers with foreign background worked as interpreters where necessary in interviews made by interviewers in case no common language was found between the interviewee and the interviewer.

The interviews lasted around one hour, on average, and 12 different languages were used: Finnish, Swedish, English, Estonian, French, Russian, Arabic, Somali, Sorani Kurdish, Persian, Thai and Chinese. The interview questionnaire and the response card used in the interviews were available in these languages. Letters of invitation sent to interviewees were translated into 27 languages. Foreign background communities were also widely informed about the survey. The good practices of fieldwork were reported comprehensively in a separate report on immigrants as targets of population surveys (in Finnish only).

Data material

The UTH data contain 3,262 interviews of persons aged 15 to 64 living permanently in Finland in 2014 who’s both parents were born abroad. The data were weighted to adjust for the effects of non-response and inflated to the population level (see the Methodological description for more details, in Finnish only).

It is possible to combine the UTH data with the data of the Labour Force Survey on the whole population of Finland aged 15 to 64 (17,225 persons) or the data of the Regional Health and Well-being Study for 2014 to 2015 (11,595 persons) and a wide array of various register data. A licence to use the data can be applied for through Statistics Finland's research services.

[1] The Labour Force Survey (EU Labour Force Survey & 2014 ad hoc module on labour market position of immigrants and their descendants), Regional Health and Well-being Study, Health 2011, Migrant Health and Wellbeing Survey, Work and Health, Quality of Work Life Survey.