Finland currently numbers 5,238,460 inhabitants and has an average population density of 17 inhabitants per square kilometre. This makes it, after Norway and Iceland, the most sparsely populated country in Europe. Finland's population has always been concentrated in the southern parts of the country, a phenomenon even more pronounced after 20th century urbanisation.
Most of the Finnish people (91.2%) speak Finnish as their mother tongue. The largest minority language is Swedish , which is one of the two official languages of the state of Finland, spoken by 5.5 percent of the population. An additional 41% of the Finnish population claim to be able to conduct a conversation in Swedish.
Other minority languages are Russian (0.8 percent), Estonian (0.3 percent), Finnish Romani, and Finnish Sign Language (spoken as a first language by 4,000–5,000 people). About a quarter of Sami people (numbering around 7,000 in Lapland) speak a Sami language as their mother tongue.
Finnish National Institutions for Language
Kotimaisten kielten tutkimuskeskus Forskningscentralen för de inhemska språken - Research Institute for the Languages of Finland
Pirkko Nuolijärvi, Director
Professor Anna Maria Gustafsson, Researcher
Vuorikatu 24, FI-00100 Helsinki, Finland
+358 20 781 3200