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Photo: Julia Kivelä / Visit Finland

Students causing rising numbers of general housing allowance recipients

At the end of 2017, around 65,000 households in Helsinki received the general housing allowance. This was 21,000 more than a year earlier, and the remarkable increase was due to students living in Finland being, as of 1 August 2017, transferred under the general housing allowance, instead of receiving, as earlier, a housing supplement to their study grant.

Of all households in Finland receiving, at the end of 2017, the general housing allowance, 17 per cent lived in Helsinki. The proportion of residents receiving the general housing allowance is larger in Helsinki than in the other municipalities of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area or the rest of Finland on average. However, in Turku, Tampere and Oulu, for example, the percentage of general housing allowance recipients is higher than in Helsinki.

28 per cent of under 15 year olds in Helsinki lived in a household receiving the general housing allowance

At the end of 2017, almost 109,000 people in Helsinki belonged to a household receiving the general housing allowance. The fact that students no longer received the student housing supplement but were, instead, eligible for the general housing allowance, increased the proportion of under 30 year olds among housing allowance recipients from 55 per cent to almost 63 per cent. In Finland as a whole, the percentage of under 30 year olds was even higher, 67 per cent.

In the case of Helsinki, though, it is worth noting that almost 28 per cent of under 15 year olds belonged to a household receiving the general housing allowance. This percentage is almost ten percentage points higher than in Finland as a whole.

97 per cent of general housing allowance recipients live in rented homes

The general housing allowance was most commonly received for covering your rent. In 2017 in Helsinki, just over 63,000 households in rented homes but only 2,000 households in owner-occupied homes received a housing allowance. The proportion of households both living in a rented home and receiving the general housing allowance has not changed notably over the last twenty years.

Of all households in Helsinki renting their homes, around 27 per cent receive a housing benefit. Among households living in owner-occupied homes, this proportion is just over one per cent.

Every fifth Helsinki resident received some kind of housing benefit from KELA

Besides the general housing allowance, KELA (the national Finnish social welfare authority) pays a housing allowance for pensioner and, in some cases, a student housing supplement, as well as housing assistance for conscripts. Every fifth Helsinki resident received some kind of housing allowance from KELA. The great majority (82%) received the general housing allowance. Of 65 year old or older Helsinki residents, almost 13 per cent received the housing allowance for pensioners.

More about the subject in the statistics publication:

Yleinen asumistuki Helsingissä 2017. Helsinki City Executive Office, Statistics 2018:12, pdf-publication.

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