Report examining possibilities to enter several languages in the Population Information System has been published

Ministry of Justice 13.2.2020 9.23
News item

The Ministry of Justice has published a report assessing the possibilities to enter several languages for a person in the Population Information System. Currently, the mother tongue and the preferred contact language of a person are entered in the system.

The report points out that the inclusion of several languages in the Population Information System would provide a more versatile picture of the linguistic identity of a person, of the languages spoken by him or her, and of his or her language affiliations. However, the fact that information on the mother tongue of a person has been entered in the Population Information System does not create rights to certain services for the person.

Authorities use the information on the mother tongue contained in the Population Information System for many purposes, for example for determining the linguistic status of municipalities, planning services, selecting the language to be used to contact a person, and determining the amounts of discretionary and central government transfers to local government. According to the report, the proposed change in the information to be included in the system could have significant impacts on the activities of the authorities.

An expert group consisting of public officials examined two alternative ways of entering several languages for a person in the Population Information System. The first option would be to enter several mother tongues for a person in the system, one of which would be selected as the person's preferred contact language. The second option would be to enter one mother tongue in the system, in addition to which it would be possible to enter one or more languages as the person’s home languages.

The report will be sent out for comments in February.

The report has now been published in Finnish and Swedish, and translations into English and North Saami will be published later in February.

Inquiries: Corinna Tammenmaa, Senior Adviser for Language Affairs, tel. +358 295 150 181, [email protected]

Report on entering several languages in the Population Information System (in Finnish)