Taxable income

In 2014, the great majority of working-age residents with foreign background had at least some taxable income. In Helsinki, those who had none at all accounted for 18 per cent of all working-age residents with foreign background and born abroad. Having no income was slightly more common in Helsinki than elsewhere in Finland. Those who had no taxable income included people receiving some social benefits, pensions or daily allowances. Child benefits, for example, are not subject to tax, nor are housing benefits or social assistance. The registers also include some people who in reality no longer live in Finland.

Most income earners with foreign background earned less than the population’s median income. In Helsinki almost two in three (64%) income earners with foreign background and born abroad had earnings below the Finnish median income in 2014. Income level of residents with foreign background rises with age and education level but remains nonetheless much lower than that of residents with Finnish background. Among income earners with foreign background in Helsinki, 42 per cent of men but only 30 per cent of women earned more than the median income in 2014.

Distribution (%) into income classes (income level compared with the whole population) of 15–64-year-old residents with foreign background and born abroad in 2014 Distribution (%) into income classes (income level compared with the whole population) of 15–64-year-old residents with foreign background and born abroad in 2014

Social assistance

Social assistance is granted to households, and the mother tongue of a recipient household is that of the primary recipient. Data on the mother tongue of other household members is not available.

When recipients of reception allowances or integration assistance are excluded, there were 46,496 households receiving social assistance in Helsinki in 2015.

In 2014, the great majority of working-age residents with foreign background had at least some taxable income. In Helsinki, those who had none at all accounted for 18 per cent of all working-age residents with foreign background and born abroad. Having no income was slightly more common in Helsinki than elsewhere in Finland. Those who had no taxable income included people receiving some social benefits, pensions or daily allowances. Child benefits, for example, are not subject to tax, nor are housing benefits or social assistance. The registers also include some people who in reality no longer live in Finland.

Most income earners with foreign background earned less than the population’s median income. In Helsinki almost two in three (64%) income earners with foreign background and born abroad had earnings below the Finnish median income in 2014. Income level of residents with foreign background rises with age and education level but remains nonetheless much lower than that of residents with Finnish background. Among income earners with foreign background in Helsinki, 42 per cent of men but only 30 per cent of women earned more than the median income in 2014. Of these 11,625 had a primary recipient with some other mother tongue than Finnish or Swedish, which was 7 per cent more than the year before. Thus, roughly every fourth household receiving social assistance in Helsinki had a primary recipient with a foreign mother tongue. In addition there were 828 households that recieved only integration assistance.

Of all 18-year-old or older residents with a foreign mother tongue, 17 per cent were primary recipients of social assistance in 2015. Among the whole adult population in Helsinki the share was 9 per cent. The recipients with some other mother tongue than Finnish or Swedish had children more often than other recipients.