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Published: 31 March 2022

Number of foreign-language speakers grew by over 25,000 persons

According to Statistics Finland's statistics on population structure, the official total population of Finland at the end of 2021 was 5,548,241. In the course of 2021, Finland’s population grew by 14,448 persons. The relative population growth was 0.3 per cent. The number of persons speaking Finnish, Swedish or Sami as their native language went down by 10,747 persons, and the number of foreign-language speakers grew by 25,195 persons, which is most in at least 40 years.

Change in the population by native language in 1981 to 2021

Change in the population by native language in 1981 to 2021

Foreign-language speakers increased the population in Greater Helsinki

During 2021, the population grew most in absolute numbers in Espoo, by 4,336 persons, in Tampere (3,214 persons) and in Oulu (2,224 persons). In municipalities with at least 50,000 inhabitants the population grew in 15 municipalities and decreased in six municipalities.

The population growth in Greater Helsinki was entirely based on the foreign-language population, as the number of people speaking national languages went down in Greater Helsinki during 2021. The number of persons speaking national languages also decreased in the region of Uusimaa.

Change in the population of municipalities with at least 50,000 inhabitants by native language in 2021

Change in the population of municipalities with at least 50,000 inhabitants by native language in 2021

During 2021, the population grew in 94 and diminished in 213 municipalities. In 2020, the population increased in 89 municipalities and in 2019 in only 54 municipalities.

Examined by municipality in Mainland Finland, the population grew most in Tuusula, Kaarina and Pyhäntä, in each by 2.4 per cent.

Population decreased most in Kymenlaakso, Kouvola again the biggest loser

The population of the regions of Kymenlaakso, Satakunta and South Savo diminished by over 1,000 persons in 2021. Examined in relative terms, the population shrunk most in Kymenlaakso, by 0.9 per cent.

In the regions of South Karelia, South Savo, Kymenlaakso and Satakunta the population decreased in all municipalities.

In absolute numbers, the population decreased most in Kouvola, by 733 persons, and in Mikkeli, by 461 persons. Over the past five years, the population of Kouvola has decreased by close on 5,000 persons. In Mainland Finland, the largest relative decreases in population occurred in the municipalities of Multia (4.5 per cent) and Kyyjärvi (4,3 per cent).

Large differences in the age structures of wellbeing services counties

The proportion of elderly people in the population of wellbeing services counties varies greatly. At the end of 2021, the share of persons aged 70 or over was close on 24 per cent in the wellbeing services county of South Savo and just under 12 per cent in the wellbeing services county of Vantaa and Kerava. In six wellbeing services counties, every fifth inhabitant is aged 70 or over.

Share of persons aged 70 or over of the population in the area in 2021

Share of persons aged 70 or over of the population in the area in 2021

Share of people with foreign origin is highest in Åland and Greater Helsinki

The number of people with foreign origin was highest in the region of Åland, where their share of the population was 17.3 per cent and second highest in Uusimaa, 15.7 per cent. Of the persons with foreign origin living in Åland, 41 per cent were of Swedish origin. The share of the population with foreign origin was lowest in South Ostrobothnia, 2.7 per cent.

One-half of all people with foreign background lived in Greater Helsinki. Examined by municipality, the share of people with foreign background among Mainland Finland municipalities was highest in Vantaa, 23.4 per cent, Espoo 20.1 per cent and Närpiö, 19.6 per cent.

Share of persons with foreign background in the population in Greater Helsinki, in the satellite area and elsewhere in Finland in 1990 to 2021

Share of persons with foreign background in the population in Greater Helsinki, in the satellite area and elsewhere in Finland in 1990 to 2021
*) Satellite area: Hyvinkää, Järvenpää, Kirkkonummi, Kerava, Mäntsälä, Nurmijärvi, Pornainen, Sipoo, Tuusula, Vihti

As many as every third under school-age person of foreign background in Närpiö and Vantaa

The average age of persons with foreign background in the first generation was 38.9 in 2021, and that of the entire population was 43.6. The average age of persons with Finnish background was 44.4. The average age of persons of foreign background in the second generation was 11.5 years.

The share of under school-age children (aged 0 to 6) with foreign background was 12.1 per cent at the end of 2021. As many as one in three under school-age children are of foreign background in Närpiö and Vantaa.


Source: Population Structure 2021, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Markus Rapo 029 551 3238, info@stat.fi

Head of Department in charge: Hannele Orjala

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Updated 31.3.2022

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Population structure [e-publication].
ISSN=1797-5395. 2021. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 5.12.2022].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/vaerak/2021/vaerak_2021_2022-03-31_tie_001_en.html