During the Swedish-Finnish empire Central Finland was divided into large administrative parishes. Field cultivation became the most important source of livelihood in southern and central parts of the province. New church parishes and chapels were founded. Road connections in the direction of Ostrobothnia were improved and trade connections were established between the northern part of the province and coastal towns of Ostrobothnia. Lake Päijänne was an important waterway both in summer and in winter.

The number of houses in Central Finland rose to over 700 and the population grew to more than 12 000 people as the 1680s were reached. The Great Famine and Death of the 1690s meant that the province lost almost two thirds of its population. The recruiting and tax burden of the empire slowed down settlement and population growth in the province. Fields were cultivated near houses and villages to yield cereals, but rye was cultivated in forest areas cleared by burning off. Wildwood or autumn rye from Savo was used in northern Central Finland and the old root rye of Häme was used in more southerly areas. Livestock rearing was more advanced in the south than the north.