There were well-nigh 100 000 inhabitants in the area of Central Finland in the 1870s. The setting up of wood processing, metal and textile industry enterprises improved the economic status of the people of Central Finland after the famine years of the 1860s. The value of forests rose tremendously with the arrival of sawmill industry and provided the impetus for economic change. The concept of Central Finland became more widespread in newspapers in the 1870s-1890s. The newspaper Keski-Suomi (Central Finland) was established in 1871.

In the Diet of 1872 two separate applications were made to establish an administrative district of Central Finland. They were presented by A.W. von Zwaygberg, the Mayor of Jyväskylä and a representative of the Diet, and by Paavo Nyrönen, a small farmer from Saarijärvi. The grounds given by Nyrönen for the creation of the new district included difficulties in conducting business caused by the long distances involved, a situation that was particularly acute for poor people. The next proposals for a new administrative district were submitted by clergyman G.O. Schöneman and Wolmar Schildt in 1875.