At the end of 2020, a total of 432 847 people of foreign origin were permanently living in Finland, according to the most recent population structure data released by Statistics Finland. The official total population of the country on that same date was 5,533,793 and the proportion of foreign-language speakers in the total population is 8%.
When examining the population by origin, the Finnish statistical agency uses the euphemism of native 'foreign language speakers' instead of simply 'foreigners' and avoids any classification based on ethnicity, country of origin or nationality.
Source: Statistics Finland.
Hence, the official population statistics emphasizes the presence of "groups of foreign language speakers" rather than people from certain countries or geographic areas. Classification by language of origin also makes it possible to include in the count persons of foreign origin who, in many cases, may have acquired Finnish citizenship.
According to Statistics Finland's data, in 2020 the biggest foreign-language speaking groups were Russian speakers, 84,190 persons, Estonian speakers, 49,551, and Arabic speakers, 34,282.
Examined by region, the share of foreigners was at the end of 2020 highest in the region of Uusimaa, 15% of the population, and lowest in South Ostrobothnia, 2%.
Municipalities with the most foreigners
Russian native language speakers are the largest foreign-language group in the regions apart from the regions of Kanta-Häme, Ostrobothnia and the Åland Islands. In Kanta-Häme, the largest foreign-language speaking group is those speaking Estonian as their native language and in Ostrobothnia, the largest foreign-language speaking group is those speaking Vietnamese as their native language. In Åland those speaking Romanian.
Examined by municipality, the share of foreign-language speakers among the population was highest in Vantaa, 22%, in Espoo, 19%, and in Närpiö and Helsinki, 17%. Of the 309 municipalities in Finland, Russian was the largest foreign-language speaking group in 151 municipalities.
During 2020, Finland’s population grew by 8,501 persons. The relative population increase was 0.2 per cent.
The number of native people (counted as those speaking Finnish, Swedish or Sami as their native language) went down by 11,702, and the number of foreign-language speakers grew by 20,203.
Immigration made it possible for Finland to maintain a positive rate of population increase, despite the low birth rate.