Between 2007 and 2011, a total of 157,552 people moved from elsewhere in Finland to the capital region municipalities of Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo and Kauniainen. However during the same years more than 152,000 moved away so the net domestic growth was just over 5,500.
The area has experienced a rapid influx of new residents from abroad, including many Finnish expatriates.
“Within the past five years, immigration into the Helsinki region has been two or three times faster than it was around the turn of the millennium, for instance,” says population researcher Timo Aro. “That’s been the principle change in the long-term demographic development.”
In 2007-2011, more than 53,800 people moved to the capital region from abroad. At the same time, nearly 27,000 moved overseas, resulting in a net gain of about the same amount.
Estonians lead the way
The largest national group of arrivals are people from Finland’s southern neighbour, Estonia, with 9,621 moving to the area in those years. Also moving in were 4,278 migrants from Sweden, 4,016 from Russia, 2,591 from Britain and 2,254 from the United States.
Altogether nearly 36,000 of the new arrivals came from Europe, with more than 10,000 from Asia, just over 3,700 each from Africa and the Americas, and 559 from Oceania.
Suburbs attract affluence
Up until now, most students, foreigners and low-income people who move to the capital region settle in Helsinki itself. Meanwhile many wealthier individuals have moved out into the surrounding communities.
“This situation is unsustainable and will worsen if the migration flows remain as large as they are now,” warns Aro.
Moves from one province to another, meanwhile, only represent a small fraction of migration in Finland. Aro notes that about a million people, or nearly one fifth of the population, change their address annually. Two thirds of these moves are within the same municipalities, though. And about half of inter-municipal moves are within the same general area.
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