How could regional inequalities be tackled in a sustainable way? What opportunities do urban areas have to prevent social exclusion? Would it be time to even out the differences in well-being and access to welfare?
On the outset and in international comparison, Finland has developed one of the wealthiest and most generous welfare states in the world, with low levels of income inequality and high social mobility. A deeper look reveals deepening regional disparities, leading to the observation that in fact there are four Finlands.
The policy study, by Stefan Fina, Bastian Heider, Maija Mattila, Pauli Rautiainen, Mikko-Waltteri Sihvola and Kaisa Vatanen, identifies four clusters of regions in terms of socio-economic inequalities, based on a set of eleven indicators of well-being. The indicators examined are employment, dependency ratio, business turnover, risk of child poverty, the share of the population in education, median gross income, number of people working in the health care sector, mortgages, voting activity, broadband coverage and internal migration.
The Finnish report has been produced as part of a European collaboration with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the Foundation for European Progressive Studies at the European level. The project has previously produced a similar analysis in Germany and analyzes are underway in Sweden, Estonia, Romania and Italy. The indicators have been selected in collaboration with researchers from the Institut für Landes- und Stadtentwicklungsforschung. The Kalevi Sorsa Foundation is responsible for policy recommendations.