Helsinki is home to over one fourth of Finland’s foreign-language speakers

At the beginning of 2015, 83,549 residents of Helsinki spoke a foreign language – other than Finnish, Swedish or Sami – as their mother tongue. This is equivalent to 13.5 per cent of Helsinki’s population. A major share, over 60 per cent, of the total population growth in Helsinki in 2014 consisted of those with a foreign mother tongue. The most common foreign mother tongue was Russian, followed by Estonian, Somali and English. By 2030, the number of residents with a foreign mother tongue is expected to grow to 164,000-170,000 people. 

Helsinki had 85,592 residents of foreign origin at the beginning of 2015, together making up 13.8 per cent of the city’s population. People of foreign origin refer to those whose both parents have been born abroad. 83 per cent of the population of foreign origin in Helsinki had been born abroad and 17 per cent in Finland. About half of them have a background in Europe, almost one in four in Asia and almost one in five in Africa.

In 2014, Helsinki’s international net migration of population with a foreign mother tongue was 3,542 people, which was close to the migration gain in 2013. Helsinki also attracts foreign-language speakers from other parts of Finland. However, the trend within the Helsinki Region is toward the out-migration of foreign-language speakers from Helsinki to other parts of the region. In total, Helsinki’s net migration of population with a foreign mother tongue was 4,075 people, which was a little less than in the two preceding years.

Population with foreign background in Helsinki 2015,
City of Helsinki Urban Facts, Statistics 2016:2, pdf-publication.

The publication is an abridged version of Helsingin ulkomaalaistaustainen väestö vuonna 2015 (City of Helsinki Urban Facts, Statistics 2015:41). The publication contains population, housing, education, and employment statistics on the population with a foreign mother tongue, a foreign nationality and foreign background in Helsinki.

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Aino Hiekkavuo,, tel. +358 9 310 36517.