Concepts: Statistics on basic social assistance

Statistical units

Basic social assistance paid out

The basic social assistance paid out by Kela corresponds to the benefit expenditure of the basic social assistance scheme as recorded in Kela’s accounts.

Basic social assistance: Recipient households

Recorded as recipient households of basic social assistance are households that have during the reference month been paid a non-zero amount of assistance. In the event that the applicant in the household and their spouse are the same person, they are recorded as being one and the same household. The concept of household is construed in accordance with the Act on Social Assistance, comprising the applicant, the applicant’s spouse and any co-resident under-age children.

Recipients of basic social assistance

Recorded as recipients of basic social assistance are members of the recipient households.

Statistical classifications


The regional classifications used in the statistics on basic social assistance are based on the principal municipality of residence of the household.

Type of household

The type of household is determined on the basis of the data for the household members. Recorded as living alone are persons who have applied for basic social assistance independently and who do not have anyone else living with them. Persons applying for assistance independently and who do not live alone are included among other single-person households. A household including persons whose beneficiary role is recorded as ‘child’ is considered a family with children. Recorded as childless couples are households including an applicant and a spouse but no children.

Sources of income

When applications for basic social assistance are determined, data on sources of income are recorded for the household members in respect of each month for which assistance is sought. Benefit income is recorded in accordance with the benefit classification used by Kela, and other income according to a classification used by the National Institute for Health and Welfare.

Principal activity

A principal activity is recorded for each recipient of basic social assistance in accordance with a classification used by Statistics Finland and mainly based on the sources of income that each person has.