Finland Statistics

Source: wikileaks

Viewing cable 09HELSINKI239, FINLAND: MUSLIM POPULATION AND DEMOGRAPHICS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09HELSINKI239 2009-06-24 10:42 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Helsinki
VZCZCXRO7680
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSL RUEHSR RUEHVK
RUEHYG
DE RUEHHE #0239/01 1751042
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 241042Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY HELSINKI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5030
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HELSINKI 000239 

SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 

EUR/NB FOR MIGUEL RODRIGUES AND EUR/FO/FARAH PANDITH 

E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PINR KISL KPLS FI PHUM PGOV
SUBJECT: FINLAND: MUSLIM POPULATION AND DEMOGRAPHICS 

1. (SBU) SUMMARY.  Over the last two decades, Finland has 
experienced significant growth in its Muslim population, 
albeit based on smaller numbers than other European 
countries.  In the last decade, the growth occurred mainly 
due to refugee acceptance programs.  Analyzing that growth 
proves challenging as the Government of Finland (GoF) 
collects limited official data on origin and ethnicity per se 
- especially once a resident obtains Finnish citizenship. 
From an estimated population historically quoted around 1,000 
in 1990, Post estimates a population at year-end 2007 of 
around 40,000 based on statistics available for both mother 
tongue and resident country of origin and birth, with 
adjustments. That population reportedly has risen rapidly 
since 2008, at the same time national polls now show a drop 
in support for immigration.  One of the GoF's goals for the 
second half of its term is to focus more on immigration 
policy - integration, education and employment.  END SUMMARY. 

ESTIMATING POPULATION 
--------------------- 

2.  (SBU) Estimating the Muslim population proves difficult, 
as the GoF collects limited ethnic data before a resident 
gains Finnish citizenship and ceases tracking ethnicity after 
citizenship.  It collects religious-affiliation data, but it 
appears few Muslims participate in the voluntary registration 
system.  Fewer than 6000 Muslims have registered; GoF 
officials have told EmbOffs that most of the largest Muslim 
immigrant group, Somalis, practice but do not register, so 
that figure is clearly far too low.  Examining estimates from 
various sources indicates a growth in population from a low 
of 1,000 in 1990 to approximately 40,000 in 2008: 

--1990 (Academy of Finland 
www.helsinki.fi/teol/uskt/musref/into.html) 1,000 
--1999 (Academy of Finland 
www.helsinki.fi/teol/uskt/musref/intro.html) 15,000 to 20,000 
--2005 September 12, (Helsingin Sanomat newspaper 
www.helsinginsanomat.fi/english) cited 30,000 Muslims in 
Finland, the largest group comprised of Somalis. 
--2007 December 4-5 (OSCE Report) cited 40,000 Muslims living 
in Finland with most holding citizenship, but did not 
footnote the citation. 

3. (SBU) Published population estimates vary and appear 
mostly drawn from the range contained in the CIA World 
Factbook, 20,000 to 40,000 (as of July 2005).  The cited 
Factbook estimate broadly tracks with GoF figures based on 
residents' country of origin by birth and nationality (see 
paragraph 10), estimating approximately 20,000 by Country of 
Citizenship and 46,000 by Country of Birth.  (NOTE: Such 
figures are subject to additional uncertainties, e.g., 
estimates would be subject to adjustment based on percentage 
of Muslims in countries of birth/origin, and GoF estimates 
did not include figures from countries with a Muslim 
population under 2 per cent. Also, the dissolution of 
Yugoslavia and the U.S.S.R. creates differences between birth 
and nationality countries.  END NOTE.) 

4.  (SBU) Aside from country of birth and nationality, the 
GoF also collects information regarding the mother tongue for 
those residents who have not yet changed their "official 
tongue" to Finnish (see paragraph 9).  Totaling the 
(self-selected) languages with a high Islamic bias, spoken in 
areas with an estimated 70 to 100 percent Muslim population 
results in 37,475 for 2006 and 39,586 for 2007. 

APPROXIMATELY 40,000 MUSLIMS IN FINLAND 
--------------------------------------- 

5.  (SBU) One might accept the broad range of 20,000 to 
46,000, or one might seek a single figure.  In arriving at a 
single figure, post believes that a reasonable source is 
mother tongue data, taking into account factors supporting 
adjustments up and down.  Additions would include the number 
of Tatars, the native Finnish Muslim minority, which the GoF 
estimates to be 800.  The higher birth rate among immigrant 
populations might suggest further addition.  Counted against 
that would be an unknown number of non-Muslims fleeing from 
Islamic states.  A reasonable estimate for the Muslim 
population in Finland is 40,000.  Media reported in October 
and November 2008, that at least 40,000 Muslims reside in 
Finland; of these, one report said, 27,000 are immigrants, 
9,000 to 13,000 are next generation and 1,000 are converts. 
(NOTE:  These two reports did not reflect a source for their 
figures.  END NOTE.) 

MUSLIM POPULATION DEMOGRAPHICS 
------------------------------ 

HELSINKI 00000239  002 OF 003 

6. (U) Based on additional Statistics Finland data on 
"Citizenship of the population by age and sex 31.12.2006," 
immigrants to Finland - virtually all of the Muslim 
population - typically bring a different population age 
structure than exists among the Finnish populace in general: 
Most immigrants are working age and the proportion of 
children and young people with them is larger, explained by 
families accompanying refugees and family reunification. 
Finnish officials commented to PolOff that birthrates are 
initially higher among immigrant families, but the higher 
birthrate cannot be corroborated by the data, as live births 
in Finland are not necessarily reported by mother's or 
father's mother tongue or origin. 

MUSLIM POPULATION BOOMLET? 
-------------------------- 

7. (U) Finland may be experiencing a boomlet in its Muslim 
population due to asylum and refugee activity. Somali and 
Iraqi refugees comprise a large majority of asylum 
applicants. In 2008 and likely in 2009 a large number of 
UNHCR refugees will be Kurdish Iraqis and Palestinians. 
Media reported that in 2008 a total of 4,000 people applied 
for asylum in Finland with most of them arriving from Somalia 
and Iraq; media also reported that the number of applications 
is expected to climb to 6,000 in 2009.  Statistics from the 
Finnish Migration Service support the reported trend; Iraqi 
asylum applications grew 284 per cent for 2008 over 2007; and 
Somali applications grew 165 per cent; Iranian applications 
grew 82 per cent.  In a meeting with PolOff, a Helsinki city 
official estimated that each of four ferries coming daily 
from Sweden brings six asylum applicants. 

8. (SBU) COMMENT.  The fast rise of a youthful, largely male 
immigrant population during an economic downturn will present 
a challenge to the government.  An additional concern is the 
drop in public support for immigration, revealed in latest 
national polls.  One of the GoF's goals for the second half 
of its term is to focus more on immigration policy - 
integration, education and employment.  END COMMENT. 

MOTHER TONGUE STATISTICS 
------------------------ 

9. (U) The GoF agency Statistics Finland issued a report, 
"Population Structure and Vital Statistics by Municipality 
2006," which presents the most detailed published population 
data (October 2007) available for mother tongue statistics. 

PASHTO:  317 nationwide with 150 in Southern Finland and 159 
in Western Finland 
ALBANIAN:  5,415 nationwide with 4,376 of those in Southern 
Finland. 
AMHARIC:  549 nationwide with 433 of those in Southern 
Finland. 
ARABIC:  7,564 nationwide with 5,568 of those in Southern 
Finland, 1,240 in Western Finland, 474 in Eastern Finland, 
265 in Northern Finland and 17 in the Aland Islands. 
AZERBAIJANI:  261 nationwide with 165 of those in Southern 
Finland and 93 in Western Finland. 
INDONESIAN:  211 nationwide with 150 of those in Southern 
Finland. 
KURDISH:  5,469 nationwide with 4,237 of those in Southern 
Finland and 872 in Western Finland, 113 in Eastern Finland, 
199 in Northern Finland, and 49 in the Aland Islands. 
MALAYALAM:  114 nationwide with 89 in Southern Finland. 
PERSIAN:  3,529 nationwide with 1,944 in Southern Finland, 
1,096 in Western Finland, 246 in Eastern Finland, 207 in 
Northern Finland and 36 in Aland Islands. 
SOMALI:  8,990 nationwide with 8,505 in Southern Finland, 336 
in Western Finland, 73 in Eastern Finland, and 76 in Northern 
Finland. 
TATAR:  138 nationwide with 125 in Southern Finland. 
TURKISH:  3,929 nationwide with 2,855 in Southern Finland, 
692 in Western Finland, 191 in Eastern Finland and 187 in 
Northern Finland. 
TURKMEN:  164 nationwide with 90 in Southern Finland and 72 
in Western Finland. 
URDU:  679 nationwide with 546 in Southern Finland and 107 in 
Western Finland. 
CHECHEN:  146 nationwide with 98 in Southern Finland and 36 
in Western Finland. 

Total of these languages nationwide (2006):  37,475. 

Statistics Finland "Statistical Yearbook of Finland 2008" 
presents the most recent data nationwide (October 2008) 
regarding year end 2007.  Many of the less widely spoken 
second languages are relegated to "other" in the newer report. 

HELSINKI 00000239  003 OF 003 

ALBANIAN: 5791 
AMHARIC: 637 
ARABIC:  8119 
KURDISH:  5893 
PASHTO:  364 
PERSIAN:  3896 
SOMALI: 9810 
TURKISH: 4276 
URDU:  800 

Total of these languages nationwide (2007):  39,586 

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN STATISTICS 
---------------------------- 

10. (U) Statistics Finland reports (non-Finnish) citizenship 
or (non-Finnish) country of birth for 2006, as follows 
included: 

Country/Citizenship/Birth 
Afghanistan/2011/1738 
Albania/104/124 
Algeria/252/536 
Azerbaijan/121/64 
Bangladesh/606/736 
Bosnia & Herzegovina/1599/70 
Burma (Myamar )/403/287 
Cameroon/201/193 
Congo/40/-- 
Congo (DCR)/676/556 
Cote d'Ivoire/--/74 
Egypt/279/611 
Eritrea/73/-- 
Ethiopia/383/1001 
Former Yugosalvia/529/5214 
Gambia/177/546 
Georgia/51/-- 
Ghana/447/546 
India/1990/2479 
Indonesia/181/246 
Iran/2602/3442 
Iraq/3045/4436 
Israel/328/624 
Jordan/137/197 
Kazakhstan/307/307 
Kenya/459/578 
Kuwait/--/83 
Lebanon/100/440 
Liberia/77/80 
Libya/107/130 
Malaysia/188/296 
Morocco/702/1366 
Nepal/269/309 
Nigeria/572/657 
Pakistan/540/770 
Philippines/671/1129 
Rwanda/74/76 
Saudi Arabia/--/223 
Senegal/58/78 
Serbia/45/-- 
Serbia & Montenegro/3340/813 
Sierra Leone/53/72 
Singapore/48/99 
Somalia/4623/5261 
Sri Lanka/298/470 
Sudan/976/764 
Syria/140/304 
Tanzania/207/303 
Thailand/2994/4074 
Tunisia/255/411 
Turkey/2886/3708 
Uganda/58/68 
Uzbekistan/99/-- 
Zambia/76/105 

11.  Contact at Post for further information on the data: 
Lisa Conesa,email,ConesaLB@state.gov 

BUTLER
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