People in an office of the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) in Helsinki in October 2019. Immigration was the primary driver of population growth for Finland between January and September, according to preliminary data released by Statistics Finland. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

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PRELIMINARY DATA from Statistics Finland reveal that Espoo recorded the second highest absolute increase in population among cities in Finland between January and September.

The City of Espoo on Wednesday stated in a press release that its population is estimated to have grown by 6,619 in the first nine months of the year to 311,900 at the end of September. The growth outpaced the growth recorded in the corresponding period last year by 850.

The preliminary data indicate that foreign-language speakers accounted for about 80 per cent of the population growth, resulting in foreign-language speakers accounting for 22 per cent of the population at the end of September.

Russian, Estonian, Arabic, English, China and Somali were the most commonly spoken foreign languages in Espoo in 2022.

Espoo’s population grew primarily as a result of international migration as people moving to the city outnumbered those moving overseas from the city by 3,870 between January and September. The second most important factor contributing to population growth was inter-municipal migration, with an increase of 1,620.

The preliminary data suggest the city’s population is on track to grow by roughly 8,700 in 2023.

Mayor Jukka Mäkelä (NCP) estimated at the beginning of the month that the appeal of the city to be attributable to strong local and international business structure and research and development environment.

“This generates vitality and competitiveness not only for Espoo but for the entire capital region and Finland,” he said.

According to Statistics Finland, Helsinki witnessed the largest increase in population in the first nine months of the year, growing by 8,980. Tampere ranked third on the list after receiving 5,189 new residents.

The City of Helsinki in August revealed that it expects the share of foreign-language speakers to grow from the current 16 to 21 per cent by 2030. The number of foreign-language speakers in the capital city is forecast to grow by 40,000 to 154,700 by the end of the decade, driven especially by an increase in the number of people speaking Asian languages such as Chinese, Vietnamese and Nepalese.

Finland, meanwhile, saw its population grow by 30,414 to 5,594,384 between January and September, according to preliminary data from Statistics Finland. The growth stemmed exclusively from immigration, with the number of immigrants exceeding that of emigrants by 41,268.

Natural population increase in the nine-month period was negative, with deaths exceeding births by 10,817.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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