Comment: Those who like to insult and ridicule immigrants and refugees in Finland, and who still believe Finns are some lost tribe in this part of Europe who have not mixed with anyone, should pay close attention to the statistics below. If over one million Finns would not have emigrated from this land from 1860, our population would be over 7 million today.
Thanks to immigration, Finland’s cultural diversity is richer than what many of us want to believe. The interesting question to ask is why this hasn’t been acknowledged. Is it because it would force us to ask serious questions about who we are as a nation? Would many of our myths about ourselves be challenged?
Thanks to New World Finn, an English-language quarterly published in the United States for this information.
During the late-19th century and early 20th century, over 300,000 people from Finland migrated to the United States and, to a lesser extent, Canada. While there had been a sporadic flow of immigration before the mid-19th century, the bulk of the migration did not start until about 1870.
The 2000 United States Census lists 623,573 persons who claimed Finnish ancestry. Finnish-Canadians, who claimed Finnish ancestry, according to the 2001 census, number over 114,000. There are many of Finnish ancestry who do not claim it.
The states with the largest Finnish-American populations are: Michigan – 101,351; Minnesota – 99,388; California – 56,526; Washington – 40,290; Wisconsin – 36,047. The communities of Thunder Bay, Toronto and Sudbury form the main centers of Finnish-Canadian activity. Thunder Bay boasts the largest Finnish population outside of Scandinavia.
How many Finns emigrated abroad?
Table 1. Emigration from Finland in 1860-1999
Destination 1860-1944 1945-1999
Sweden 45,000 535,000
Other Europe 55,000 125,000
United States 300,000 18,000
Canada 70,000 23,000
Latin America 1,000 5,000
Asia 500 6,000
Africa 1,000 4,000
Oceania 3,500 20,000
Total 476,000 736,000
Source: Jouni Korkiasaari and Ismo Söderling: Finnish emigration and immigration after World War II. Migration Institute 2003. http://www.migrationinstitute.fi/articles/011_Korkiasaari_Soderling.pdf