According to the official UN World Happiness Report, which compiles data on 156 countries of the world, Finland is the happiest country in the world. Despite the fact that many Finns do not fully agree with such a statement, life in Finland attracts a large number of citizens from third countries. According to the local immigration office, every year about 20 thousand foreigners receive a Finnish residence permit.

The population of Finland is about 5.6 million people. This is a very homogeneous country, that is, the vast majority of local residents are ethnic Finns. Only 3.5% of the population are foreigners, mostly Estonians, Russians and Swedes. This is one of the lowest figures in the European Union. About prices and costs of living, taxes, specifics of employment, salaries, education, medicine, pros and cons of living in Finland in 2024 we will talk further.

Living in Finland

Pros and cons of living in Finland

Life in Finland for foreigners from third countries is an opportunity to get a good future for themselves and their children in stable, developed and prosperous state of the European Union. For example, according to official statistics from the local migration service, in recent years, every fifth applicant from Russia gets Finnish citizenship. Highlight the positive and negative aspects of living in Finland.

Pros of living in Finland

  • In terms of nominal GDP per capita, Finland is one of the ten richest countries in Europe, which is confirmed by the high quality of life.

  • Finland has a strong economy, developed democratic institutions, good infrastructure, transparent legal system, and a high level of social security.

  • Favorable investment climate allows you to open and run a successful business in Finland. In the annual ranking of Doing Business among European countries, the country ranks eighth, while in the world at 20th place.

  • On Finnish streets, the crime rate is minimal, and in general the country is very safe.

  • Finland's higher education system is one of the best on the planet. Unfortunately, since 2017 foreigners from outside the European Union have to pay tuition fees at local universities (programs in English).

  • Finland has clean air and beautiful nature with many beautiful places for outdoor activities. In every city you can find a nice cafe and restaurant with excellent cuisine.

  • Finns love a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating, lots of running and biking. They are very nice, quiet and friendly people. The vast majority of the local population speaks English.

Pros and cons of living in Finland

Cons of living in Finland

  • Finland can be quite cold in winter (temperatures drop to -20 ° C and below) and there is a lot of precipitation.

  • Living in Finland is very expensive. High prices for housing, food, alcohol, clothing, public transport and even for airline tickets for Finnair's international flights.

  • The owner of the land cannot forbid people to gather mushrooms and berries on his land except in the immediate vicinity of the house.

  • There are elements of bureaucracy and political corruption.

  • Sometimes it is difficult to find a job in Finland without knowing Finnish language, which is very difficult to learn.

Prices and cost of living in Finland

As in many other developed European countries, especially in Scandinavia, living in Finland is very expensive. Rent an apartment (one room) in the city center on average costs about 700-750 euros per month, and 550-600 euros outside the city. For more comfortable apartments will have to give at least 1,000-1,200 euros. In the capital of Helsinki and other major cities, the cost of living is even higher.

According to the Finnish Statistics Office, in 2024 the average price per square meter of land in Finland is 23.8 euros, while for Helsinki, the amount rises to 168.1 euros. The average price per square meter of real estate (family house) in Finland is 1,572 euros, in Helsinki it is 2,895 euros, and in the rest of the country it is 1,483 euros.

Prices in Finland in 2024

  • Bread (500 g) – 2.38 euros

  • Milk (1 L) – 1.06 euros

  • Eggs (12 eggs) – 2.88 euros

  • Chicken Fillets (1 kg) – 11.02 euros

  • Potatoes (1 kg) – 1.03 euros

  • Finnish cheese (1 kg) – 7.58 euros

  • Bananas (1 kg) – 1.74 euros

  • Apples (1 kg) – 2.21 euros

  • Gasoline (1 liter) – 2.02 euros

  • Cab (1 km) – 1.50 euros

  • Public transport (one-way ticket) – 3.10 euros

  • Monthly pass – 59.00 euros

  • Utilities (85 sq. m.) – 120.53 euros

  • Mobile Tariff Local (1 month) – 26.39 euros

  • Internet – 20.80 euros

Note. The above prices are average figures for different cities in Finland.


Taxes in Finland

Finland has not only a high quality of life, but also impressive tax rates, which are levied at both national and local levels. For example, total deductions from annual wages can exceed 50%. Incidentally, non-residents in Finland have a flat rate of income tax of 35%. However, it is allowed to apply for tax on a progressive scale.

The tax rates in Finland in 2024

Corporate income tax – 20%

VAT – 24%. Reduced rates of 14% (food, catering services), 10% (books, pharmaceuticals, some services) and 0% (gold bars/coins, domestic and international transport).

Income tax on capital (investment) income:

  • 30% – if income does not exceed 30 thousand euros

  • 34% – if income is above 30 thousand euros

Income tax:

  • Annual income up to 20.5 thousand euros: the rate of 12.64% of the excess amount.

  • Annual income from 20.5 to 30.5 thousand euros: the base tax of 2,591 euros, plus a rate of 19% of the excess amount.

  • Annual income from 30.5 to 50.4 thousand euros: the base tax of 4,491 euros, plus a rate of 30.25% of the excess amount.

  • Annual income from 50.4 to 88.2 thousand euros: the base tax of 10,510 euros, plus a rate of 34% of the excess amount.

  • Annual income from 88.2 to 150 thousand euros: the base tax of 23,362 euros, plus a rate of 42% of the excess amount.

  • Annual income over 150 thousand euros: the base tax of 49,318 euros, plus a rate of 44% of the excess amount.

Municipal income tax – 4.36-10.68%

Pension fund contribution – 7.15% (up to 53 or older than 62 years) and 8.65% (53-62 years)

Social contributions (health insurance) – 0-2%

Work and wages in Finland

Although there is no legal minimum wage in Finland, workers in the country as a whole rarely earn less than €1,800-2,000 per month, regardless of their profession. According to the local statistical office, the average wage in Finland in 2024 is €3,807 per month before taxes. After all mandatory deductions, the employee has about €2,600 at his or her disposal.

To be legally employed in Finland, foreigners from third countries must first find a vacancy and sign an employment contract, and then apply for a work visa to Finland or a combined residence permit that allows you to live and conduct professional activities in this country for more than 90 days. In addition, you can try to get the EU Blue Card to Finland. One of the main conditions is a salary of at least 5,209 euros per month.

The most popular occupations in Finland for foreigners are seasonal workers in agriculture (harvesting – strawberries, mushrooms, berries, fruits and vegetables) and skilled professionals, such as doctors, industrial engineers, programmers, construction workers. The highest income brings a job in Helsinki, an average of about 4 thousand euros a month before taxes. Experienced workers can count on 5-6 thousand euros per month.

Higher education in Finland

Higher education in Finland

In the annual QS World University Rankings 2024 there are nine higher education institutions in Finland. The University of Helsinki tops the list at 106th place. In addition, among the best Finnish universities include Aalto University and Turku. Any foreigner can enroll in higher education in Finland. It is allowed to enroll in six educational programs simultaneously. In order to enroll, it is necessary to pass entrance exams.

Unfortunately, at the end of 2015 the Finnish Parliament decided that from 2017 foreigners from countries outside the European Union must pay a minimum of 1,500 euros per year to study at a university in Finland. This innovation does not apply to students with a program of study in Finnish or Swedish, as well as to doctoral programs. In addition, the Finnish authorities require foreign students to have a minimum amount of 560 euros per month in order to be granted a residence permit.

Medicine in Finland

Public health care in Finland is available to all permanent residents regardless of their financial situation. Primary health care services are provided by the local health centers (terveysasemat), while specialised medical care is provided by district hospitals/hospitals (sairaalat).

One visit to a doctor in Finland at a health center costs an average of 20-25 euros. The fee is charged a maximum of 3 times a year, which means that the cost of medical services has an upper limit, upon reaching which you do not have to pay any more. Of course, this does not apply to private clinics. Public health care in Finland is financed by taxation and is partly covered by patient contributions.

In conclusion, the average life expectancy at birth in Finland in 2024 is 81 years, with men living about 79 years and women 84. Besides the capital Helsinki, the best cities to live in Finland are Tampere, Turku, Helsinki, Espoo and Oulu.

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