Published: 1 April 2016

Number of persons speaking national languages as their native language went down for the second year in a row

According to Statistics Finland's statistics on population structure, the official total population of Finland at the end of 2015 was 5,487,308. In the course of 2015, Finland’s population grew by 15,555 persons. The number of persons speaking Finnish, Swedish or Sami as their native language went down by nearly 4,000 persons. The number of foreign-language speakers grew by good 19,000 persons.

Change in the population by native language in 1981 to 2015

Change in the population by native language in 1981 to 2015

Share of foreign-language speakers six per cent of the total population, over 11 per cent in Uusimaa

A total of 329,562 persons speaking a foreign language as their native language were living permanently in Finland at the end of 2015. The proportion of foreign-language speakers in the total population was now six per cent. The biggest foreign-language speaking groups were Russian speakers, 72,436 persons, Estonian speakers, 48,087, and Somali speakers, 17,871.

Examined by region, the share of foreign-language speakers was at the end of 2015 highest in the region of Uusimaa, 11.3 per cent of the population, and lowest in South Ostrobothnia, 2.0 per cent.

Share of persons aged 65 or over in the population the sixth biggest in EU 28 countries

There were 1,123,103 persons aged 65 or over in Finland at the end of 2015. Now every fifth Finn is at least 65 years old. According to Eurostat's statistics, the share of people aged 65 or over in Finland was the sixth highest in EU 28 countries at the end of 2014. The share of persons aged 65 or over was highest in Italy, Germany and Greece and lowest in Ireland.

Share of persons aged 65 or over in the population in EU 28 countries at the end of 2014

Share of persons aged 65 or over in the population in EU 28 countries at the end of 2014

Population increased in eight regions and only in 81 municipalities

During 2015, Finland’s population grew in eight regions. In absolute numbers, the population grew most in Uusimaa, by 16,873 persons and in Pirkanmaa, by 2,732 persons. The population grew most in relative numbers in Uusimaa, by 1.1 per cent.

The biggest absolute decrease in population was seen in Etelä-Savo (1,257 persons) and Kymenlaakso (1,170 persons). In relative numbers, the population shrunk most, by 1.0 per cent, in the region of Kainuu.

During 2015, the population grew only in 81 municipalities. In absolute numbers, the population increased most in Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Oulu and Tampere. The population grew most in relative terms in Liminka and Sipoo of the municipalities in Mainland Finland.

The biggest absolute decrease in the population occurred in Kouvola, Savonlinna and Salo. In relative numbers, the population decreased in Mainland Finland most in the municipalities of Ristijärvi, Posio and Siikainen.


Source: Population Structure 2015, Statistics Finland

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

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

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Updated 01.04.2016

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Population structure [e-publication].
ISSN=1797-5395. 2015. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 18.12.2017].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/vaerak/2015/vaerak_2015_2016-04-01_tie_001_en.html

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