Uussuomalainen (Finnish "new Finn") refers to people who consist of Finland's population who have a non-ethnic Finnish background and who reside permanently in the country. An uussuomalainen may have various backgrounds; including immigrant, immigrant-origin, refugee and/or having come to Finland for family reasons. The term is especially used to emphasize those that have a Finnish citizenship and carry Finnish passports, to those foreigners who live permanently in Finland and intend to be naturalized in Finland at some point in the future. Finland has experienced large-scale, continuous non-European immigration only within the past couple of decades. The term uussuomalainen is beginning to come into usage to commonly refer to these new, naturalized Finns, who are beginning to change and affect the national landscape of the country.
The so-called "new Finns" are affecting the national psyche of Finland because they are becoming a new, different cultural force of their own who are reshaping the national consciousness as to who a Finn can and cannot be.
Uussuomalainens in general:
- reside permanently in Finland
- adopt the Finnish language as their own, and tend not to wish to be a part of Finland's Swedish-speaking minority. The exception are those New Finns who live in predominantly Swedish-speaking island or coastal areas such as the Åland Islands or majority Swedish-speaking towns like Närpes.
- have attained a Finnish citizenship, or wish to eventually receive a Finnish citizenship
- move to Finland from another country or are born in Finland to parents or a parent who is not Finnish
- do not consider themselves to be ethnically Finnish but just Finnish
- assign their cultural identity to their geographic location. Finland is their home, and since geographically they are in Finland, they are Finns.
- have a background as an immigrant, immigrant background, refugee or someone who moved to Finland for family reasons
The term uussuomalainen also describes the descendants of immigrants better than the term "immigrant", because these people have in many cases been born and raised in Finland to parents from other countries.
Many first and second generation immigrant background uussuomalainens are well known in the cultural circles in Finland. Some well-known uussuomalainen writers are Toivo Flink, Neil Hardwick, Alexis Kouros, Zinaida Lindén, Harri István Mäki, Hella Wuolijoki, Jutta Zilliacus, Arvi Perttu, Ranya Paasonen, Jim Thompson, Umayya Abu-Hanna and Wilson Kirwa. Uussuomalainen writer Sofi Oksanen has written about the plight of uussuomalainen women in today's Finland.
For statistics, in 2008:
- 218,626 uussuomalainens were born outside of Finland
- 190,538 uussuomalainens had a native language other than Finland's official languages of Finnish, Swedish or Sámi
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