Published: 27 March 2009

The population of Finland in 2008

On 31 December 2008, the official total population of Finland was 5,326,314 of whom 2,611,653 were men and 2,714,661 women. In the course of 2008 Finland’s population grew by 25,830 persons and the increase in the population was the largest since 1992. For the second successive year and at the same time for the first time during Finland’s independent history migration gain from abroad contributed more to the increase of population than natural growth.

Year 2008 was a historic one for Finnish population statistics. For the first time ever the share of the population aged 65 and over exceeded that of the population aged under 15. At the end of 2008, the number of persons under the age of 15 in the Finnish population was 891,162, which was the lowest since 1896. The number of persons aged 65 and over in the population was 892,068 at the end of the year. The largest age cohort in Finland’s population was persons born in 1948. At the end of 2008, they numbered 83,361. Persons over 100 years of age numbered 514, of whom 77 were men and 437 women.

The demographic dependency ratio, that is the number of under 15 and over 65-year-olds per 100 working age persons was 50.3 at the end of 2008. Examined by area, the demographic dependency ratios were highest in the regions of Etelä-Savo (57.9) and South Ostrobothnia (57.3). The regions of Uusimaa and Pirkanmaa had the lowest demographic dependency ratios of 43.0 and 49.8, respectively. Examined by municipality, the demographic dependency ratios were highest in Luhanka (86.0) and Kivijärvi (82.7) and lowest in Helsinki (38.9) and Järvenpää (41.5).

Population by age 1875–2008

Year       Population         Age 0–14         Age 15–64        Age 65+       0–14 %     15 –64 %    65+ %   
               
1875 1 912 647 659 267 1 178 113 75 267 34,5 61,6 3,9
1900 2 655 900 930 900 1 583 300 141 700 35,1 59,6 5,3
1925 3 322 100 1 031 700 2 090 000 200 400 31,1 62,9 6,0
1950 4 029 803 1 208 799 2 554 354 266 650 30,0 63,4 6,6
1975 4 720 492 1 030 544 3 181 376 508 572 21,8 67,4 10,8
2000 5 181 115 936 333 3 467 584 777 198 18,1 66,9 15,0
               
2008 5 326 314 891 162 3 543 084 892 068 16,7 66,5 16,7

During 2008, the population increased in 12 and decreased in 8 regions. In absolute numbers the population grew most in the regions of Uusimaa, by 17,010 persons, and Pirkanmaa, by 4,074 persons. In relative terms the population grew most in the regions of Uusimaa, by 1.2 per cent, and Åland, by 1.1 per cent. In absolute numbers the population decreased most in the regions of Etelä-Savo, by 1,230 persons, and Kymenlaakso, by 810 persons. In relative terms the population decreased most in the regions of Etelä-Savo, by 0.8 per cent, and Kainuu, by 0.7 per cent.

Thirty-two municipal mergers took effect as of the beginning of 2009, in consequence of which the number of municipalities in Finland decreased by 67. There are now 348 municipalities in Finland. During 2008, the population grew in 136 and diminished in 210 municipalities. Helsinki had the largest absolute increase in population (6,033 persons), followed by Espoo (3,518 persons) and Vantaa (2,897 persons). The municipalities of Hailuoto and Vesilahti had the biggest relative increases of 4.2 and 4.0 per cent, respectively.

Kouvola had the biggest absolute decrease of population (377 persons), followed by Rauma (306 persons) and Lieksa (263 persons). The municipalities of Kökar and Merijärvi had the biggest relative decreases of 7.7 and 4.2 per cent, respectively. The comparisons of population changes by region and municipality have been made by eliminating the effects of mergers of municipal sub-areas, such as the merger of an area of Sipoo with Helsinki and its inclusion in the region of Itä-Uusimaa instead of Uusimaa.

In 2008, the population of Lahti passed the 100,000 mark. In consequence of municipal mergers the population of Jyväskylä also rose to over 100,000 so that there are now eight towns with a population of at least 100,000 in Finland.

At the end of 2008, the number of Finnish citizens permanently resident in Finland was 5,183,058, of whom 90,516 had been born abroad. Foreign citizens resident in Finland numbered 143,256, or formed 2.7 per cent of the population. The number of foreign citizens grew by 10,548 persons during 2008. The largest groups of foreign citizens were from Russia (26,909 persons), Estonia (22,604 persons), Sweden (8,439 persons) and Somalia (4,919 persons). The number of persons born abroad but resident in Finland was 218,626.

Of the population of Finland 4,844,047 persons (90.9%) spoke Finnish, 289,951 persons (5.4%) Swedish and 1,778 persons (0.03%) Sami as their native language. Persons with a native language other than Finnish, Swedish or Sami numbered 190,538, or formed 3.6 per cent of the population. The largest foreign-language groups spoke Russian (48,740 persons), Estonian (22,357 persons), English (11,344 persons), Somali (10,647 persons) and Arabic (8,806 persons).

Country of birth, citizenship and mother tongue of the population 31.12.2008

Country of birth, citizenship and mother tongue of the population 31.12.2008

Source: Population Structure 2008. Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Markus Rapo (09) 1734 3238, vaesto.tilasto@stat.fi

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

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Updated 27.3.2009

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Population structure [e-publication].
ISSN=1797-5395. 2008. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 15.12.2017].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/vaerak/2008/vaerak_2008_2009-03-27_tie_001_en.html

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