Northern Finland Birth Cohorts

Northern Finland Birth Cohorts comprise collections of data and biological samples from large population studies that are administrated by the Infrastructure for Population Studies at the Medical Faculty, University of Oulu.

The multidisciplinary research conducted with Northern Finland Birth Cohorts supports the Arctic attitude strategy at the University of Oulu, especially the thematic focus area of The Molecular and Environmental Basis of Lifelong Health.

Northern Finland Birth Cohorts

The Northern Finland Birth Cohorts, NFBC1966 and NFBC1986, form a longitudinal research program which aims to promote health and well-being of the population. The data has been collected from more than 20,000 individuals, who have been followed on a regular basis since antenatal period by health care records, questionnaires and clinical examinations as well as data on their parents and offspring (total n ~ 70,000). In addition cohorts from northern Finland aging individuals, Oulu1935 and Oulu1945, and a population study The Young in Northern Finland, are contributing to this unique resource, which allows to study the life-course determinants and pathways to health and diseases, and to understand the role of social, genetic and environmental factors occurring between two generations.

See timeline for data collections here



The study was started by professor Paula Rantakallio in the two Northernmost provinces in Finland (Oulu and Lapland) already in the year 1965 when the mothers were pregnant. Data on the individuals born into this cohort was collected since the 24th gestational week as well as their mothers and, to a lesser extent, fathers. The cohort included 12 055 mothers and they had 12 068 deliveries (13 women delivered twice).

According to the Finland's central Office of Statistics, births in the study area during 1966 totalled 12 527, so study population comprised 96.3 per cent of all births during 1966 in that area.

Altogether 12 231 children were born into the cohort, 12058 of them live-born. The original data have been supplemented by data collected with postal questionnaires at the ages of 1, 14, 31 and 46 years and various hospital records and national register data. Additionally some sub-studies have been performed.

Short descriptions of the main follow-up studies.


NFBC1986 is a longitudinal one-year birth cohort study from an unselected population. The cohort included all the mothers (N = 9 362) with children whose expected date of birth felt between July 1st 1985 - June 30th 1986 in the two northermost provinces on Finland (Oulu and Lapland). A small percentage of the births occurred towards the end of June 1985 and begin of July 1986. The number of deliveries in the cohort was 9 362, which was 99% of all the deliveries taking place in the target period of the cohort.

Altogether 9 479 children were born into the cohort, 9 432 of them live-born. The original data have been supplemented by data collected with postal questionnaires at the ages of 7, 8 and 15 / 16 years and various hospital records and statistical register data. The latest data collection with clinical examinations and questionnaires was at the age of 33 years. 

Timepoints for data collection

Short descriptions of the main follow-up studies.

Aging Population Cohorts

The studies on aging populations in Oulu were started in 1990 and 2000 for individuals born in 1935 (Oulu1935) and 1945 (Oulu1945) respectively. The aim was to find solutions to maintain individuals’ health, well-being and ability to function. Both of these cohorts comprise of 1000 individuals living in Oulu region with the follow-up data from the age of 55 until 80 years (Oulu1935) and until 70 years (Oulu1945).

Timepoints for data collection

Other cohorts