People tending to plants in an urban garden on a sunny spring day.

Helsinki Metropolitan Area residents feel good about their health

Residents in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area feel better about their health than Finns on average. Long-term, health-related functional limitations are also less frequent. These facts are highlighted in a recent survey report, the results of which are based on the survey data collected by the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen in the spring of 2021.

According to the survey, the majority of those living in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area consider their quality of life to be good. Three out of four people of working age rated their ability to work as excellent. However, the share of people who consider their health to be average or below average has increased. This trend can be seen both in the metropolitan area and throughout the country. This is probably linked, at least in part, to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Room for improvement in lifestyle and challenges in mental well-being

Only one in three residents in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area is exercising enough to maintain good health and eating the recommended amounts of vegetables and fruits. Excessive alcohol consumption is the most common among people aged 65 to 79, and binge drinking among people aged 40 to 64. The shares of people who consume alcohol in excess and binge drink have remained unchanged in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area compared to the previous survey period of 2017–2018.

Daily smoking has decreased, but the significant differences in smoking according to educational background have not narrowed.

A diagram showing users of tobacco products by their education level and gender.

Diagram: Age-standardised share (%) of people using tobacco products or nicotine-containing e-cigarettes on a daily basis in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area by educational group. 

According to the survey, mental well-being challenges are more common among young people. Young adults have also experienced the most marked increase in exhaustion during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly one in ten residents in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area has very limited experiences of social inclusion. In addition, more than one in ten feels lonely quite often or continuously. Experiencing loneliness is the most common among people aged 20–39 and over the age of 80.

Most residents are doing well, but the differences in well-being are wide

According to the survey, one in four people living in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area finds it hard to make ends meet. Unemployment and incapacity for work increase the difficulties in making a living in all educational groups. Almost one in five has had to refrain from buying medicine or seeing a doctor due to the lack of money – this is most common among those with health problems.

There have been significant health differences between population groups in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area already before, and these differences have most likely been further increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Educational attainment is one of the socioeconomic determinants that emerges from the many angles of the study: the highly educated are better off by a number of indicators. Although the population’s well-being and health have generally improved in the long term, the development trend has not been as favourable in all population groups.

These facts are highlighted in the recently published survey report Health and well-being of the residents of the Metropolitan Area of the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen, the results of which are based on the survey data collected in spring 2021.

Read more:

Health and well-being of the residents of the Metropolitan Area. Findings of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area well-being questionnaire 2021. Research Report 2022:1 of the City Executive Office, Helsinki. Helsinki: City Executive Office, Helsinki.  (In Finnish)

Abstract  (In Finnish)

Statistics and research on Helsinki

Photo: Jussi Hellsten, (c) City of Helsinki.