According to Statistics Finland's statistics on population structure, the official total population of Finland at the end of 2018 was 5,517,919. In the course of 2018, Finland’s population grew by 4,789 persons. Population growth was smallest since 1970.
In the past five years, the number of persons speaking Finnish, Swedish or Sami as their native language has decreased by 36,029 persons. At the same time, the number of foreign-language speakers has increased by 102,678 persons.
A total of 391,746 persons speaking a foreign language as their native language were living permanently in Finland at the end of 2018. The proportion of foreign-language speakers in the total population is now seven per cent. The biggest foreign-language speaking groups were Russian speakers, 79,225 persons, Estonian speakers, 49,691, and Arabic speakers, 29,462.
Share of foreign-language speakers is 19% in Vantaa
Examined by region, the share of foreign-language speakers was at the end of 2018 highest in the region of Uusimaa, 13 per cent of the population, and lowest in South Ostrobothnia, two per cent. Examined by municipality, the share of foreign-language speakers among the population was highest in Vantaa, 19 per cent, in Espoo, 17 per cent, and in Helsinki, 16 per cent.
Source: Statistics Finland
During 2018, the population grew in five regions and diminished in 14 regions. In absolute numbers, the population grew most in Uusimaa, by 15,400 persons, in Pirkanmaa, by 3,014 persons, and in Varsinais-Suomi, by 905. The relative population increase in Mainland Finland was also highest in Uusimaa, 0.9 per cent.
The biggest absolute decrease in population was seen in South Savo (2,579 persons) and Kymenlaakso (2,123 persons). In relative numbers, the population also decreased most in Kymenlaakso and South Savo (by 1.8 per cent). The population decreased most in nearly 50 years in the regions of South Karelia, South Savo, Kanta-Häme, Päijät-Häme and Satakunta.
Foreign-language speakers push population growth
During 2018, the population grew in 61 municipalities and diminished in 248 municipalities. The biggest absolute increase in population was seen in Vantaa, 5,139 persons, in Helsinki (4,770) and Espoo (4,588). Foreign-language speakers accounted for three-quarters of the population growth in the Helsinki region.
Examined in relative terms, the population grew in Mainland Finland most in Vantaa (2.3 per cent) and Kempele (2.2 per cent). In absolute numbers, the population decreased most in Savonlinna, by 1,053 persons, and in Kouvola, by 1,019 persons. In Mainland Finland, the largest relative decreases in population occurred in Lestijärvi (6.6 per cent), Karijoki (4.1 per cent) and Kannonkoski (3.9 per cent).