Demographics of Finland

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Population densities in Finland, inhabitants per square kilometre.

This article is about the demographic features of the population of Finland, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Finland numbers some 5.4 million and has an average population density of 17 inhabitants per square kilometre. This makes it the third most sparsely populated country in Europe, after Iceland and Norway. Population distribution is very uneven: the population is concentrated on the small southwestern coastal plain. About 85%[1] live in towns and cities, with one million living in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area alone. In Arctic Lapland, on the other hand, there are only 2 people to every square kilometre.

The country is ethnically homogeneous, the dominant ethnicity being Finnish people. The official languages are Finnish and Swedish, the latter being the native language of about five per cent of the Finnish population.[2] From the 13th to the early 19th century Finland was a part of the Kingdom of Sweden. The Swedish-speakers are known as Swedish-speaking Finns (finlandssvenskar in Swedish, suomenruotsalaiset in Finnish).

With 79 percent of Finns in its congregation, the Lutheran Church is the largest religious group in the country.

The earliest inhabitants of most of the land area that makes up today's Finland and Scandinavia were in all likehood hunter-gatherers whose closest successors in modern terms would probably be the Sami people (formerly known as the Lapps). There are 4,500 of them living in Finland today and they are recognised as a minority and speak three distinct languages: Northern Sami, Inari Sami and Skolt Sami. They have been living north of the Arctic Circle for more than 7,000 years now, but today are a 5% minority in their native Lapland Province. During the late 19th and 20th century there was significant emigration, particularly from rural areas to Sweden and North America, while most immigrants into Finland itself come from other European countries.

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1750 421,000 —    
1760 490,000 +16.4%
1770 560,000 +14.3%
1780 660,000 +17.9%
1790 706,000 +7.0%
1800 837,000 +18.6%
1810 863,000 +3.1%
1820 1,177,500 +36.4%
1830 1,372,100 +16.5%
1840 1,445,600 +5.4%
1850 1,636,900 +13.2%
1860 1,746,700 +6.7%
1870 1,768,800 +1.3%
1880 2,060,800 +16.5%
1890 2,380,100 +15.5%
1900 2,655,900 +11.6%
1910 2,943,400 +10.8%
1920 3,147,600 +6.9%
1930 3,462,700 +10.0%
1940 3,695,610 +6.7%
1950 4,029,800 +9.0%
1960 4,496,220 +11.6%
1970 4,598,330 +2.3%
1980 4,787,770 +4.1%
1990 4,998,480 +4.4%
2000 5,181,000 +3.7%
2010 5,375,300 +3.8%
2013 5,451,270 +1.4%
Population size prior to 1812 may be affected by changes on administrative divisions.

Population[edit]

Total population[2][edit]

  • At the end of 2008: 5,304,840
  • At the end of 2009: 5,351,427
  • At the end of 2010: 5,375,276
  • At the end of 2011: 5,401,267

Centre of population[edit]

Center of population, i.e. Weber point in Finland in 2011

The geographical center of population (Weber point) of the Finnish population is currently located in Hauho, in the village of Sappee, now part of the town of Hämeenlinna. The coordinates of this point are 61' 17" N, 24' 67" E.[3]

Age structure[edit]

Finnish population pyramid in 2005. Male: left, dark blue. Female: right, light blue.

At the end of 2011.[2]

  • 0–14 years: 16.5% = 888,982 (male 454,222; female 434,810)
  • 15–64 years: 65.4% = 3,532,645 (male 1,786,688; female 1,745,957)
  • 65 years and over: 18.1% = 979 640 (male 411,674; female 567,966)

Families[edit]

The profound demographic and economic changes that occurred in Finland after World War II affected the Finnish family. Families became smaller, dropping from an average of 3.6 persons in 1950 to an average of 2.7 by 1975. Family composition did not change much in that quarter of a century, however, and in 1975 the percentage of families that consisted of a man and a woman was 24.4; of a couple and children, 61.9; of a woman with offspring, 11.8; of a man and offspring, 1.9. These percentages are not markedly different from those of 1950. Change was seen in the number of children per family, which fell from an average of 2.24 in 1950 to an average of 1.7 in the mid-1980s, and large families were rare. Only 2 percent of families had four or more children, while 51 percent had one child; 38 percent, two children; and 9 percent, three children. The number of Finns under the age of 18 dropped from 1.5 million in 1960 to 1.2 million in 1980.[4]

Vital statistics[edit]

Data according to Statistics Finland, which collects the official statistics for Finland.[5]

Average population (x 1000) Live births Deaths Natural change Crude birth rate (per 1000) Crude death rate (per 1000) Natural change (per 1000) Total fertility rate
1900 2 646 86 339 57 915 28 424 32.6 21.9 10.7 4.83
1901 2 667 88 637 56 225 32 412 33.2 21.1 12.2 4.92
1902 2 686 87 082 50 999 36 083 32.4 19.0 13.4 4.79
1903 2 706 85 120 49 992 35 128 31.5 18.5 13.0 4.62
1904 2 735 90 253 50 227 40 026 33.0 18.4 14.7 4.85
1905 2 762 87 841 52 773 35 068 31.8 19.1 12.7 4.67
1906 2 788 91 401 50 857 40 544 32.8 18.2 14.5 4.81
1907 2 821 92 457 53 028 39 429 32.8 18.8 14.0 4.76
1908 2 861 92 146 55 305 36 841 32.2 19.3 12.9 4.65
1909 2 899 95 005 50 577 44 428 32.8 17.4 15.3 4.72
1910 2 929 92 984 51 007 41 977 31.7 17.4 14.3 4.60
1911 2 962 91 238 51 648 39 590 30.8 17.4 13.4 4.46
1912 2 998 92 275 51 645 40 630 30.8 17.2 13.5 4.45
1913 3 026 87 250 51 876 35 374 28.8 17.1 11.7 4.15
1914 3 053 87 577 50 690 36 887 28.7 16.6 12.1 4.13
1915 3 083 83 306 52 205 31 101 27.0 16.9 10.1 3.89
1916 3 105 79 653 54 577 25 076 25.7 17.6 8.1 3.69
1917 3 124 81 046 58 863 22 183 25.9 18.8 7.1 3.71
1918 3 125 79 494 95 102 -15 608 25.4 30.4 -5.0 3.60
1919 3 117 63 896 62 932 964 20.5 20.2 0.3 2.87
1920 3 133 84 714 53 304 31 410 27.0 17.0 10.0 3.76
1921 3 170 82 165 47 361 34 804 25.9 14.9 11.0 3.58
1922 3 211 80 140 49 180 30 960 25.0 15.3 9.6 3.43
1923 3 243 81 961 47 556 34 405 25.3 14.7 10.6 3.44
1924 3 272 78 057 53 442 24 615 23.9 16.3 7.5 3.22
1925 3 304 78 260 47 493 30 767 23.7 14.4 9.3 3.17
1926 3 339 76 875 47 526 29 349 23.0 14.2 8.8 3.02
1927 3 368 75 611 51 727 23 884 22.5 15.4 7.1 2.92
1928 3 396 77 523 48 713 28 810 22.8 14.3 8.5 2.92
1929 3 424 76 011 54 489 21 522 22.2 15.9 6.3 2.83
1930 3 449 75 236 48 240 26 996 21.8 14.0 7.8 2.75
1931 3 476 71 866 48 968 22 898 20.7 14.1 6.6 2.59
1932 3 503 69 352 46 700 22 652 19.8 13.3 6.5 2.46
1933 3 526 65 047 47 960 17 087 18.4 13.6 4.8 2.27
1934 3 549 67 713 46 318 21 395 19.1 13.1 6.0 2.33
1935 3 576 69 942 45 370 24 572 19.6 12.7 6.9 2.37
1936 3 601 68 895 49 124 19 771 19.1 13.6 5.5 2.31
1937 3 626 72 319 46 466 25 853 19.9 12.8 7.1 2.52
1938 3 656 76 695 46 930 29 765 21.0 12.8 8.1 2.52
1939 3 686 78 164 52 614 25 550 21.2 14.3 6.9 2.56
1940 3 698 65 849 71 846 -5 997 17.8 19.4 -1.6 2.15
1941 3 702 89 565 73 334 16 231 24.2 19.8 4.4 2.90
1942 3 708 61 672 56 141 5 531 16.6 15.1 1.5 2.00
1943 3 721 76 112 49 634 26 478 20.5 13.3 7.1 2.46
1944 3 735 79 446 70 570 8 876 21.3 18.9 2.4 2.56
1945 3 758 95 758 49 046 46 712 25.5 13.1 12.4 3.07
1946 3 806 106 075 44 748 61 327 27.9 11.8 16.1 3.41
1947 3 859 108 168 46 053 62 115 28.0 11.9 16.1 3.47
1948 3 912 107 759 43 668 64 091 27.5 11.2 16.4 3.47
1949 3 963 103 515 44 501 59 014 26.1 11.2 14.9 3.33
1950 4 009 98 065 40 681 57 384 24.5 10.1 14.3 3.16
1951 4 047 93 063 40 386 52 677 23.0 10.0 13.0 3.01
1952 4 090 94 314 39 024 55 290 23.1 9.5 13.5 3.06
1953 4 139 90 866 39 925 50 941 22.0 9.6 12.3 2.96
1954 4 187 89 845 37 988 51 857 21.5 9.1 12.4 2.93
1955 4 235 89 740 39 573 50 167 21.2 9.3 11.8 2.93
1956 4 282 88 896 38 713 50 183 20.8 9.0 11.7 2.91
1957 4 324 86 985 40 741 46 244 20.1 9.4 10.7 2.86
1958 4 360 81 148 38 833 42 315 18.6 8.9 9.7 2.68
1959 4 395 83 253 38 827 44 426 18.9 8.8 10.1 2.75
1960 4 430 82 129 39 797 42 332 18.5 9.0 9.6 2.71
1961 4 461 81 996 40 616 41 380 18.4 9.1 9.3 2.65
1962 4 491 81 454 42 889 38 565 18.1 9.5 8.6 2.66
1963 4 523 82 251 42 010 40 241 18.2 9.3 8.9 2.66
1964 4 549 80 428 42 512 37 916 17.7 9.3 8.3 2.58
1965 4 564 77 885 44 473 33 412 17.1 9.7 7.3 2.46
1966 4 581 77 697 43 548 34 149 17.0 9.5 7.5 2.41
1967 4 606 77 289 43 790 33 499 16.8 9.5 7.3 2.32
1968 4 626 73 654 45 013 28 641 15.9 9.7 6.2 2.15
1969 4 624 67 450 45 966 21 484 14.6 9.9 4.6 1.94
1970 4 606 64 559 44 119 20 440 14.0 9.6 4.4 1.83
1971 4 612 61 067 45 876 15 191 13.2 9.9 3.3 1.70
1972 4 640 58 864 43 958 14 906 12.7 9.5 3.2 1.59
1973 4 666 56 787 43 410 13 377 12.2 9.3 2.9 1.50
1974 4 691 62 472 44 676 17 796 13.3 9.5 3.8 1.62
1975 4 711 65 719 43 828 21 891 14.0 9.3 4.6 1.69
1976 4 726 66 846 44 786 22 060 14.1 9.5 4.7 1.72
1977 4 739 65 659 44 065 21 594 13.9 9.3 4.6 1.69
1978 4 753 63 983 43 692 20 291 13.5 9.2 4.3 1.65
1979 4 765 63 428 43 738 19 690 13.3 9.2 4.1 1.64
1980 4 780 63 064 44 398 18 666 13.2 9.3 3.9 1.63
1981 4 800 63 469 44 404 19 065 13.2 9.3 4.0 1.65
1982 4 827 66 106 43 408 22 698 13.7 9.0 4.7 1.72
1983 4 856 66 892 45 388 21 504 13.8 9.3 4.4 1.74
1984 4 882 65 076 45 098 19 978 13.3 9.2 4.1 1.70
1985 4 902 62 796 48 198 14 598 12.8 9.8 3.0 1.64
1986 4 918 60 632 47 135 13 497 12.3 9.6 2.7 1.60
1987 4 932 59 827 47 949 11 878 12.1 9.7 2.4 1.59
1988 4 946 63 316 49 063 14 253 12.8 9.9 2.9 1.70
1989 4 964 63 348 49 110 14 238 12.8 9.9 2.9 1.71
1990 4 986 65 549 50 028 15 521 13.1 10.0 3.1 1.79
1991 5 014 65 680 49 271 16 409 13.1 9.8 3.3 1.80
1992 5 042 66 877 49 523 17 354 13.3 9.8 3.4 1.85
1993 5 066 64 826 50 988 13 838 12.8 10.1 2.7 1.81
1994 5 088 65 231 48 000 17 231 12.8 9.4 3.4 1.85
1995 5 108 63 067 49 280 13 787 12.3 9.6 2.7 1.81
1996 5 125 60 723 49 167 11 556 11.8 9.6 2.3 1.76
1997 5 140 59 329 49 108 10 221 11.5 9.6 2.0 1.75
1998 5 153 57 108 49 283 7 825 11.1 9.6 1.5 1.71
1999 5 165 57 574 49 345 8 229 11.1 9.6 1.6 1.73
2000 5 176 56 742 49 339 7 403 11.0 9.5 1.4 1.73
2001 5 188 56 189 48 550 7 639 10.8 9.4 1.5 1.73
2002 5 201 55 555 49 418 6 137 10.7 9.5 1.2 1.72
2003 5 213 56 630 48 996 7 634 10.9 9.4 1.5 1.76
2004 5 228 57 758 47 600 10 158 11.0 9.1 1.9 1.80
2005 5 246 57 745 47 928 9 817 11.0 9.1 1.9 1.80
2006 5 266 58 840 48 065 10 775 11.2 9.1 2.0 1.84
2007 5 289 58 729 49 077 9 652 11.1 9.3 1.8 1.83
2008 5 313 59 530 49 094 10 436 11.2 9.2 2.0 1.85
2009 5 339 60 430 49 883 10 547 11.3 9.3 2.0 1.86
2010 5 375 60 980 50 887 10 103 11.4 9.5 1.9 1.87
2011 5 403 59 961 50 585 9 376 11.1 9.4 1.7 1.83
2012 5 426 59 493 51 707 7 786 10.9 9.5 1.4 1.80
2013 5 450 58 120 51 190 6 940 10.7 9.4 1.3 1.75

Current vital statistics[edit]

Number of births from January to May 2012 = Decrease 24,600

Number of births from January to May 2013 = Decrease 24,150

Number of deaths from January to May 2012 = Increase 22,600

Number of deaths from January to May 2013 = Decrease 22,550

Natural increase from January to May 2012 = Decrease 2,000

Natural increase from January to May 2013 = Decrease 1,600

Life expectancy at birth[edit]

Year Males Females Both sexes
1986 70.5 78.7 74.7
1996 73.0 80.5 76.8
2006 75.8 82.8 79.4
2008 76.3 83.0 79.7
2009 76.5 83.1 79.8
2010 76.7 83.2 80.1
2011(e) 77.2 83.5 80.8

Marriage[edit]

Attitudes toward marriage have changed substantially since World War II. Most obvious was the declining marriage rate, which dropped from 8.5 marriages per 1,000 Finns in 1950 to 5.8, in 1984, a decline great enough to mean a drop also in absolute numbers. In 1950 there were 34,000 marriages, while in 1984 only 28,500 were registered, despite a growth in population of 800,000. An explanation for the decline was that there was an unprecedented number of unmarried couples. Since the late 1960s, the practice of cohabitation had become increasingly common, so much so that by the late 1970s most marriages in urban areas grew out of what Finns called "open unions." In the 1980s, it was estimated that about 8 percent of couples who lived together, approximately 200,000 people, did so without benefit of marriage. Partners of such unions usually married because of the arrival of offspring or the acquisition of property. A result of the frequency of cohabitation was that marriages were postponed, and the average age for marriage, which had been falling, began to rise in the 1970s. By 1982 the average marriage age was 24.8 years for women and 26.8 years for men, several years higher for both sexes than had been true a decade earlier.

The overwhelming majority of Finns did marry, however. About 90 percent of the women had been married by the age of forty, and spinsterhood was rare. A shortage of women in rural regions, however, meant that some farmers were forced into bachelorhood.

While the number of marriages was declining, divorce became more common, increasing 250 percent between 1950 and 1980. In 1952 there were 3,500 divorces. The 1960s saw a steady increase in this rate, which averaged about 5,000 divorces a year. A high of 10,191 was reached in 1979; afterwards the divorce rate stabilized at about 9,500 per year during the first half of the 1980s.

A number of factors caused the increased frequency of divorce. One was that an increasingly secularized society viewed marriage, more often than before, as an arrangement that could be ended if it did not satisfy its partners. Another reason was that a gradually expanding welfare system could manage an ever greater portion of the family's traditional tasks, and it made couples less dependent on the institution of marriage. Government provisions for parental leave, child allowances, child care programs, and much improved health and pension plans meant that the family was no longer essential for the care of children and aged relatives. A further cause for weakened family and marital ties was seen in the unsettling effects of the Great Migration and in the economic transformation Finland experienced during the 1960s and the 1970s. The rupture of established social patterns brought uncertainty and an increased potential for conflict into personal relationships.[4]

Ethnic minorities & languages[edit]

No official statistics are kept on ethnicities. However, statistics of the Finnish population according to language and citizenship are available.

Finnish and Swedish are defined as languages of the state. Swedish is an official municipal language in municipalities with significant Swedish-speaking populations. The three Sami languages (North Sami, Inari Sami, Skolt Sami) are official in certain municipalities of Lapland.

Finnish people — Finns — speak Finnish, which is the dominant language and is spoken almost everywhere in the country except Åland.

Population of mainland Finland (excluding Åland) according to language, 1990-2013[1]

Population of Finland according to mother language 1990–2013
Mother
language
1990 1995 2000 2005 2013
Number  % Number  % Number  % Number  % Number  %
Finnish 4,675,223 93.53% 4,754,787 92.92% 4,788,497 92.42% 4,819,819 91.71% 4,869,362 89.33%
Swedish 296,738 5.94% 294,664 5.76% 291,657 5.63% 289,675 5.51% 290,910 5.34%
Russian 3,884 0.08% 15,872 0.31% 28,205 0.54% 39,653 0.75% 66,379 1.22%
Estonian 1,394 0.03% 8,710 0.17% 10,176 0.2% 15,336 0.29% 42,936 0.79%
Somali 0 0% 4,057 0.08% 6,454 0.12% 8,593 0.16% 15,789 0.29%
English 3,569 0.07% 5,324 0.1% 6,919 0.13% 8,928 0.17% 15,570 0.29%
Arabic 1,138 0.02% 2,901 0.06% 4,892 0.09% 7,117 0.14% 13,170 0.24%
Kurdish 179 0% 1,381 0.03% 3,115 0.06% 5,123 0.1% 10,075 0.18%
Chinese 790 0.02% 2,190 0.04% 2,907 0.06% 4,613 0.09% 9,496 0.17%
Albanian 0 0% 2,019 0.04% 3,293 0.06% 5,076 0.1% 8,214 0.13%
Thai 244 0% 813 0.02% 1,458 0.03% 3,033 0.06% 7,513 0.14%
Persian 291 0.01% 803 0.02% 1,205 0.02% 3,165 0.06% 7,281 0.13%
Vietnamese 1,643 0.03% 2,785 0.05% 3,588 0.07% 4,202 0.08% 6,991 0.13%
Turkish 848 0.02% 1,809 0.04% 2,435 0.05% 3,595 0.07% 6,441 0.12%
Spanish 894 0.02% 1,394 0.03% 1,946 0.04% 2,937 0.06% 6,022 0.11%
German 2,427 0.05% 2,719 0.05% 3,298 0.06% 4,114 0.08% 5,902 0.11%
Polish 901 0.02% 1,129 0.02% 1,157 0.02% 1,445 0.03% 4,060 0.07%
French 670 0.01% 1,062 0.02% 1,585 0.03% 2,071 0.04% 3,524 0.06%
Hungarian 573 0.01% 732 0.01% 1,089 0.02% 1,206 0.02% 2,527 0.05%
Romanian
Moldovan
94 0% 368 0.01% 617 0.01% 909 0.02% 2,517 0.05%
Bengali 93 0% 373 0.01% 524 0.01% 920 0.02% 2,401 0.04%
Tagalog 118 0% 375 0.01% 568 0.01% 764 0.01% 2,195 0.04%
Italian 403 0.01% 574 0.01% 833 0.02% 1,177 0.02% 2,085 0.04%
Portuguese 171 0% 297 0.01% 433 0.01% 865 0.02% 2,072 0.04%
Ukrainian 11 0% 113 0% 337 0.01% 611 0.01% 2,050 0.02%
Bosnian 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% 1,186 0.02% 1,964 0.04%
Sami 1,734 0.03% 1.726 0.03% 1,734 0.03% 1,752 0.03% 1,930 0.04%
Bulgarian 230 0% 400 0.01% 486 0.01% 629 0.01% 1,891 0.03%
Urdu 79 0% 179 0% 309 0.01% 594 0.01% 1,886 0.03%
Hindi 147 0% 239 0% 428 0.01% 779 0.01% 1,550 0.03%
Dutch 277 0.01% 408 0.01% 650 0.01% 960 0.02% 1,386 0.03%
Japanese 274 0.01% 386 0.01% 561 0.01% 798 0.02% 1,216 0.02%
Latvian 20 0% 76 0% 169 0% 391 0.01% 1,164 0.02%
Lithuanian 30 0% 94 0% 166 0% 375 0.01% 1,000 0.02%
Norwegian 402 0.01% 436 0.01% 471 0.01% 540 0.01% 644 0.01%
Danish 290 0.01% 305 0.01% 397 0.01% 456 0.01% 514 0.01%
Hebrew 165 0% 232 0% 263 0.01% 348 0.01% 440 0.01%
Other 2,534 0.05% 5,084 0.1% 8,293 0.16% 11,825 0.22% 31,746 0.58%

The government only considers the "working language", Finnish or Swedish, of the person, and "bilinguality" has no official standing.

Swedes[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Finland Swedes.

Significant populations of Swedish-speakers are found in coastal areas, from Ostrobothnia to the southern coast, and in the archipelago of Åland. Coastal cities, however, are majority Finnish-speaking, with a few small towns as exceptions. There are very few Swedish-speakers in the inland.

Sami[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Sami people.

The Sami are related to the Finns, both speak non-Indo-European languages belonging to the Uralic family of languages. Once present throughout the country, the Sami gradually moved northward under the pressure of the advancing Finns. As they were a nomadic people in a sparsely settled land, the Sami were always able to find new and open territory in which to follow their traditional activities of hunting, fishing, and slash-and-burn agriculture. By the 16th century, most Sami lived in the northern half of the country, and it was during this period that they converted to Christianity. By the 19th century, most of them lived in the parts of Lapland that were still their home in the 1980s. The last major shift in Sami settlement was the migration westward of 600 Skolt Sami from the Petsamo region after it was ceded to the Soviet Union in 1944. A reminder of their eastern origin was their Orthodox faith; the remaining 85 percent of Finland's Sami were Lutheran.

About 90 percent of Finland's 4,400 Sami lived in the municipalities of Enontekiö, Inari, and Utsjoki, and in the reindeer herding-area of Sodankylä. According to Finnish regulations, anyone who spoke one of the Sami languages, or who had a relative who was a Sami, was registered as a Sami in census records. Finnish Sami spoke three distinct Sami languages, but by the late 1980s perhaps only a minority actually had Sami as their first language. Sami children had the right to instruction in Sami, but there were few qualified instructors or textbooks available. One reason for the scarcity of written material in Sami is that the three languages spoken in Finland made agreement about a common orthography difficult. Perhaps these shortcomings explained why a 1979 study found the educational level of Sami to be considerably lower than that of other Finns.

Few Finnish Sami actually led the traditional nomadic life pictured in school geography texts and in travel brochures. Although many Sami living in rural regions of Lapland earned some of their livelihood from reindeer herding, it was estimated that Sami owned no more than one-third of Finland's 200,000 reindeer. Only 5 percent of Finnish Sami had the herds of 250 to 300 reindeer needed to live entirely from this kind of work. Most Sami worked at more routine activities, including farming, construction, and service industries such as tourism. Often a variety of jobs and sources of income supported Sami families, which were, on the average, twice the size of a typical Finnish family. Sami also were aided by old-age pensions and by government welfare, which provided a greater share of their income than it did for Finns as a whole.

There have been many efforts over the years by Finnish authorities to safeguard the Sami' culture and way of life and to ease their entry into modern society. Officials created bodies that dealt with the Sami minority, or formed committees that studied their situation. An early body was the Society for the Promotion of Lapp Culture, formed in 1932. In 1960 the government created the Advisory Commission on Lapp Affairs. The Sami themselves formed the Saami-liitto in 1945 and the Johti Sabmelazzat, a more aggressive organization, in 1968. In 1973 the government arranged for elections every four years to a twenty-member Sami Parliaments that was to advise authorities. On the international level, there was the Nordic Sami Council of 1956, and there has been a regularly occurring regional conference since then that represented—in addition to Finland's Sami—Norway's 20,000 Sami, Sweden's 10,000 Sami, and the 1,000 to 2,000 Sami who remained in the Kola Peninsula in Russia.[4]

Romani[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Finnish Kale.

Romani people, also called Kale and Roma, have been present in Finland since the second half of the 16th century. The outdated term "Gypsy" is racist and should not be used in polite society. With their unusual dress, unique customs, and specialized trades for earning their livelihood, Roma have stood out, and their stay in the country has not been an easy one. They have suffered periodic harassment from the hands of both private citizens and public officials, and the last of the special laws directed against them was repealed only in 1883. Even in the second half of the 1980s, Finland's 5,000 to 6,000 Romani remained a distinct group, separated from the general population both by their own choice and by the fears and the prejudices many Finns felt toward them.

Finnish Roma, like Roma elsewhere, chose to live apart from the dominant societal groups. A Roma's loyalty was to his or her family and to Gypsies in general. Marriages with non-Roma were uncommon, and the Roma's own language, spoken as a first language only by a few in the 1980s, was used to keep outsiders away. An individual's place within Roma society was largely determined by age and by sex, old males having authority. A highly developed system of values and a code of conduct governed a Roma's behavior, and when Roma sanctions, violent or not, were imposed, for example via "blood feuds," they had far more meaning than any legal or social sanctions of Finnish society.

Unlike the Lapps, who lived concentrated in a single region, the Romani lived throughout Finland. While most Lapps wore ordinary clothing in their everyday life, Romani could be identified by their dress; the men generally wore high boots and the women almost always dressed in very full, long velvet skirts. Like most Lapps, however, Roma also had largely abandoned a nomadic way of life and had permanent residences. Romani men had for centuries worked as horse traders, but they had adapted themselves to postwar Finland by being active as horse breeders and as dealers in cars and scrap metal. Women continued their traditional trades of fortune telling and handicrafts.

Since the 1960s, Finnish authorities have undertaken measures to improve the Romani's standard of life. Generous state financial arrangements have improved their housing. Their low educational level (an estimated 20 percent of adult Romani could not read) was raised, in part, through more vocational training. A permanent Advisory Commission on Gypsy Affairs was set up in 1968, and in 1970 racial discrimination was outlawed through an addition to the penal code. The law punished blatant acts such as barring Romani from restaurants or shops or subjecting them to unusual surveillance by shopkeepers or the police.[4]

Jews[edit]

For more details on this topic, see History of the Jews in Finland.

There are about 1,300 Jews in Finland, 800 of whom live in Helsinki and most of the remainder live in Turku. During the period of Swedish rule, Jews had been forbidden to live in Finland. Once the country became part of the Russian Empire, however, Jewish veterans of the tsarist army had the right to settle anywhere they wished within the empire. Although constrained by law to follow certain occupations, mainly those connected with the sale of clothes, the Jewish community in Finland was able to prosper, and 1890 it numbered about 1,000. Finnish independence brought complete civil rights, and during the interwar period there were some 2,000 Jews in Finland, most of them living in urban areas in the south. During World War II, Finnish authorities refused to deliver Jews to the Nazis, and the country's Jewish community survived the war virtually intact. By the 1980s, assimilation and emigration had significantly reduced the size of the community, and it was only with some difficulty that it maintained synagogues, schools, libraries, and other pertinent institutions.[4]

Russians[edit]

Russians in Finland had come from two major waves. About 5,000 originate from a population that immigrated in the 19th and early 20th centuries, when Finland was a grand duchy of Imperial Russia. Another consisted of those who immigrated after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. A significant catalyst was the right of return, based on President Koivisto's initiative that people of Ingrian ancestry would be allowed to immigrate to Finland.

Tatars[edit]

The Tatar community in Finland is historically smaller than the Jewish community; it numbered only about 700, most of whom were found in Helsinki, Tampere, Järvenpää, Turku. The Tatars first came to Finland from Russian Volga region near Nizni Novgorod's Tatar villages in the mid-19th century and have remained there ever since, active in commerce. The Tatars in Finland fully integrated into the Finnish society at the same time they preserved Islamic religion, mother tongue and ethnic culture.

Migration[edit]

External migration[edit]

Finland residency by country of birth 2006.PNG

Demographic movement in Finland did not end with the appearance of immigrants from Sweden in the Middle Ages. Finns who left to work in Swedish mines in the 16th century began a national tradition, which continued up through the 1970s, of settling in their neighboring country. During the period of tsarist rule, some 100,000 Finns went to Russia, mainly to the St. Petersburg area. Emigration on a large scale began in the second half of the 19th century when Finns, along with millions of other Europeans, set out for the United States and Canada. By 1980 Finland had lost an estimated 400,000 of its citizens to these two countries.

A great number of Finns emigrated to Sweden after World War II, drawn by that country's prosperity and proximity. Emigration began slowly, but, during the 1960s and the second half of the 1970s, tens of thousands left each year for their western neighbor. The peak emigration year was 1970, when 41,000 Finns settled in Sweden, which caused Finland's population actually to fall that year. Because many of the migrants later returned to Finland, definite figures cannot be calculated, but all told, an estimated 250,000 to 300,000 Finns became permanent residents of Sweden in the postwar period. The overall youthfulness of these emigrants meant that the quality of the work force available to Finnish employers was diminished and that the national birth rate slowed. At one point, every eighth Finnish child was born in Sweden. Finland's Swedish-speaking minority was hard hit by this westward migration; its numbers dropped from 350,000 to about 300,000 between 1950 and 1980. By the 1980s, a strong Finnish economy had brought an end to large-scale migration to Sweden. In fact, the overall population flow was reversed because each year several thousand more Finns returned from Sweden than left for it.[4]

Internal migration[edit]

However significant the long-term effects of external migration on Finnish society may have been, migration within the country had a greater impact—especially the migration which took place between the end of World War II and the mid-1970s, when half the population moved from one part of the country to another. Before World War II, internal migration had first been a centuries-long process of forming settlements ever farther to the north. Later, however, beginning in the second half of the 19th century with the coming of Finland's tardy industrialization, there was a slow movement from rural regions toward areas in the south where employment could be found.

Postwar internal migration began with the resettlement within Finland of virtually all the inhabitants of the parts of Karelia ceded to the Soviet Union. Somewhat more than 400,000 persons, more than 10 percent of the nation's population, found new homes elsewhere in Finland, often in the less settled regions of the east and the north. In these regions, new land, which they cleared for farming, was provided for the refugees; in more populated areas, property was requisitioned. The sudden influx of these settlers was successfully dealt with in just a few years. One of the effects of rural resettlement was an increase in the number of farms during the postwar years, a unique occurrence for industrialized nations of this period.

It was, however, the postwar economic transformation that caused an even larger movement of people within Finland, a movement known to Finns as the Great Migration. It was a massive population shift from rural areas, especially those of eastern and northeastern Finland, to the urban, industrialized south). People left rural regions because the mechanization of agriculture and the forestry industry had eliminated jobs. The displaced work force went to areas where employment in the expanding industrial and service sectors was available. This movement began in the 1950s, but it was most intense during the 1960s and the first half of the 1970s, assuming proportions that in relative terms were unprecedented for a country outside the Third World. The Great Migration left behind rural areas of abandoned farms with reduced and aging populations, and it allowed the creation of a densely populated postindustrial society in the country's south.

The extent of the demographic shift to the south can be shown by the following figures. Between 1951 and 1975, the population registered an increase of 655,000. During this period, the small province of Uusimaa increased its population by 412,000, growing from 670,000 to 1,092,000; three-quarters of this growth was caused by settlers from other provinces. The population increase experienced by four other southern provinces, the Aland Islands, Turku ja Pori, Hame, and Kymi, taken together with that of Uusimaa amounted to 97 percent of the country's total population increase for these years. The population increase of the central and the northern provinces accounted for the remaining 3 percent. Provinces that experienced an actual population loss during these years were in the east and the northeast-Pohjois-Karjala, Mikkeli, and Kuopio.

One way of visualizing the shift to the south would be to draw a line, bowing slightly to the north, between the port cities of Kotka on the Gulf of Finland and Kaskinen on the Gulf of Bothnia. In 1975 the territory to the south of this line would have contained half of Finland's population. Ten years earlier, such a line, drawn farther to the north to mark off perhaps 20 percent more area, would have encompassed half the population. One hundred years earlier, half the population would have been distributed throughout more than twice as much territory. Another indication of the extent to which Finns were located in the south was that by 1980, approximately 90 percent of them lived in the southernmost 41 percent of Finland.[4]

Immigration[edit]

Demographics[edit]

In 2013, there were 299,963 foreign-born residents in Finland, corresponding to 5.5% of the total population. Of these, 182,920 (3.6%) were born outside the EU and 98,380 (1.9%) were born in another EU Member State.[6] In mainland Finland (excluding Åland), the largest groups were:

  1. Soviet Union Former Soviet Union (53,710)
  2. Estonia Estonia (39,327)
  3. Sweden Sweden (29,484)
  4. Russia Russia (10,992)
  5. Somalia Somalia (9,618)
  6. Iraq Iraq (9,264)
  7. China China (8,879)
  8. Thailand Thailand (8,563)
  9. Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Former Yugoslavia (6,728)
  10. Germany Germany (6,253)

Religion[edit]

At the end of 2009.[2]

Literacy[edit]

  • Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
  • Total population: 100% (2000 est.)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.stat.fi/til/vaerak/2012/01/vaerak_2012_01_2013-09-27_tie_001_en.html
  2. ^ a b c d "Statistics Finland: Finland in Figures". Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  3. ^ Matka väestölliseen keskipisteeseen, Helsingin Sanomat, 30 July 2012, p. A5.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Text from PD source: US Library of Congress: A Country Study: Finland, Library of Congress Call Number DL1012 .A74 1990.
  5. ^ Statistics Finland
  6. ^ Syntymävaltio iän ja sukupuolen mukaan maakunnittain 1990 - 2013, Tilastokeskus

External links[edit]