Finland’s location has its mark on Finnish history and culture. The country is often described as the Nordic bridge between east and west.
Key figures and facts
- Capital: Helsinki
- Ethnic groups: Found 93.4%, Swedes 5.6%, Russians 0.5%, Esters 0.3%, Room 0.1%, Sami 0.1% (2006)
- Language: Finnish (official) 87.9%, Swedish (official) 5.2%, Russian 1.4%, other 5.5% (2017)
- Religion: Protestants 70.9%, Greek Orthodox 1.1%, other 28% (2017)
- Population: 5 523 000 (2017)
- Control Form: Republic
- Area: 338 420 Km2
- Currency: euro
- GNP per capita: 43 378 PPP $
- National Day: December 6th
Population of Finland
Finland’s population consists of three main groups, each representing three different waves of colonization: the Finns, which make up over 93 percent of the people, the Finns, who live mostly in the south and west, and the Sami.
Most Sami people, who together make up less than 6,000 people, live in the north. Outside the northern areas most of the Sami live in Helsinki. Utsjoki is the only municipality with a Sami majority. Since 1992, Sami has had official language status in some municipalities in the north. Incidentally, many Sami have lost their mother tongue due to pressure from the larger community. See also the section below about languages and the article about Sami.
It was previously believed that the Finno-Ugric groups originated from a common abode in central Russia. This is now considered less likely, as no past findings suggest a sudden immigration of a new tribe. Probably there was a gradual immigration of various tribes living in the areas around the Gulf of Finland.
The ethnic differences in the population are very small today, and when talking about groups of Sami, Tavastarians, Karelians and Finns from “the real Finland”, this is more to suggest a place of origin than to give expression to different cultural backgrounds.
The Swedish-speaking population has declined both absolutely and relatively. The decline is partly due to lower natural population growth and a large emigration to both Sweden and the US. The Swedish-speaking population lives mainly in the coastal area in the southwest and in Åland. See also Finns in Finland.
In addition to Finnish and Swedish, the largest groups of foreign native speakers are in descending order: Russian, Estonian, Arabic, Somali, English, Kurdish, Chinese, Persian, Albanian, Vietnamese, Thai, Spanish, Turkish, German and Polish.
Historically, the population has shown a relatively rapid increase. It can be mentioned that in 1965 Finland had a population five times as large as when it was separated from Sweden in 1809. The rapid growth is partly due to the fact that emigration had not been as great as in Norway and Sweden, and that the birth surplus was also high. Emigration began in the 1870s and reached its greatest extent in 1901–1913. The emigrants came mostly from Österbotten and Åland.
Comparing the population in Sweden and Finland in the period 1880-1905, Sweden’s population increased by only 10%, while Finland had an increase of 40%. During the period 1905-1965, Sweden’s population increased by 46%, while Finland had an increase of 65%. In 2004, the population was 5, 2 million.
The birth rate has been declining since the 1880s, at first slowly, but by 1910 much faster. The birth rate increased somewhat immediately before and during the Second World War, but has since decreased; in 2004 it was 10.6 ‰. Mortality has also decreased over time, in 1936–1939 it was 13–15 ‰ and in 2004 9.7 ‰. Infant mortality is among the lowest in the world, 1.9 per 1,000 live births in 2015, but no further back than in 1938 it was 67.8 per 1,000. The average age of first-borns has increased from 28.1 years in 2007 to 29.1 years in 2016.
Average life expectancy has risen all the time, while the frequency of births has decreased, which has led to a significant change in population structure. The proportion below 15 years and over 60 years is almost equal. Life expectancy is 84.1 years for women and 78.4 years for men (2016).
Finland in numbers
|Population||3 134 300||5 503 297|
|Life expectancy for men||43.4||78.4|
|Life expectancy for women||49.1||84.1|
|Most popular first names for men||Eino||Onni|
|Most popular first names for women||Anna||Sofia|
|Student Exams||1128||30 617|
|Married||20 004||24 464|
|Number of rooms per dwelling including kitchen||2.4||3.7|
|Number of people per household||5.3||2.0|
|Coffee consumption per person||1.7 kg||9.9 kg|
|Sugar consumption per person||7.1 kg||29.3 kg|
|Total number of cars||1754||3 957 153|
|Employees in agriculture and forestry||70.1%||4.1%|
|Employees in industry||11.5%||21.8%|
|Employees in service industry and management||10.9%||73.7%|
Figures from Statistics Finland in Finland.
Finland has a low population density (16.2 people per km2). The population density is greatest in the southwestern and middle parts of the country and in a strip north along the coast. Lapland, on the other hand, is very sparsely populated (two people per km2). Nevertheless, there has been a relatively strong population increase in the country’s northern parts. However, the migration to the north has completely slowed, while the flow to the urban areas, especially in the south, has increased in scope.
Urbanization started relatively late in Finland compared to the other Nordic countries, and the cities are relatively young. They are concentrated to the coast and to low lying areas.
The population of the largest municipalities in 2017
|To live||187 604|
|St. Michel||54 517|
Figures from Statistics Finland in Finland.