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Finland Historical and Political Profile

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Finland Index

  • Finland-Chapter 4 - Government and Politics
  • Finland-Transport Equipment
  • Finland-Principles of Criminal Justice
  • Finland-Orthodox Church of Finland
  • Finland-Revivalist Movements Within the Lutheran Church
  • Finland-Lapps
  • Finland-Banking and Finance
  • Finland-The Rise of Finnish Nationalism
  • Finland-Economic Development
  • Finland-Forestry
  • Finland-Energy
  • Finland-The Winter War WORLD WAR II, 1939-45
  • Finland-The Establishment of Finnish Democracy
  • Finland-Civil Service
  • Finland-Aland Islands
  • Finland-Macroeconomic Policy
  • Finland-Mobile Police
  • Finland-Tourism
  • Finland-Fisheries
  • Finland-Chapter 1 - Historical Setting
  • Finland-Industrial Policy
  • Finland -Country Profile
  • Finland-Sentencing and Punishment
  • Finland-Medieval Society and Economy
  • Finland-Class Structure
  • Finland-Local Administration
  • Finland-Conscription and Reserve Duty
  • Finland-The Constitution
  • Finland-Health Problems
  • Finland-Security Police
  • Finland-United States
  • Finland-Finnish-Soviet Cooperation
  • Finland-Primary and Secondary Education
  • Finland-Family Aid
  • Finland-Machine Building
  • Finland-Income Security Classified as Welfare
  • Finland-Police Training
  • Finland-ECONOMY
  • Finland-Balance of Payments
  • Finland-Agricultural Policy
  • Finland-President
  • Finland-Finnish Security Policy Between the Wars
  • Finland-Navy
  • Finland-Employee Pension Plans
  • Finland-DEMOGRAPHY
  • Finland-Chapter 3 - The Economy
  • Finland-Child-Care Services
  • Finland-Command Structure
  • Finland-Finland
  • Finland-The Parliamentary Election of 1983
  • Finland-Chapter 2 - The Society and Its Environment
  • Finland-The Presidential Election of 1988
  • Finland-Employment
  • Finland-Legal System
  • Finland-Army
  • Finland-The Effects of the War
  • Finland-Structure of the Economy
  • Finland-Finland in the Era of Consensus, 1966-81
  • Finland-The Lapland War
  • Finland-Domestic Arms Production
  • Finland-Protection of the Environment
  • Finland-Farms and Farmers
  • Finland-Metal Industries
  • Finland-Landform Regions
  • Finland-Social and Economic Developments
  • Finland-Unemployment Insurance
  • Finland-The Kalmar Union
  • Finland-Minerals
  • Finland-Services for the Disabled
  • Finland-Organization of the Health System
  • Finland-Industrial Relations
  • Finland-Agriculture
  • Finland-The Continuation War
  • Finland-Transportation and Communications
  • Finland-Mass Media
  • Finland-Status of Women
  • Finland-Adult Education
  • Finland-Health System
  • Finland-Sickness Insurance
  • Finland-Organization of the Welfare System
  • Finland-Size, External Boundaries, and Geology
  • Finland-Drug Enforcement
  • Finland-The Parliamentary Election of 1987
  • Finland-Income Security Programs Classified as Social Insurance
  • Finland-Soviet Union
  • Finland-The Communist Party of Finland
  • Finland-Climate
  • Finland-The Swedish People's Party
  • Finland-Foreword
  • Finland-Acknowledgments
  • Finland-Housing
  • Finland-Training and Education
  • Finland-Air Force
  • Finland-Central Criminal Police
  • Finland-Council of State
  • Finland-Legislature
  • Finland-Finnish Direct Investment Abroad
  • Finland-Ties to West European Markets
  • Finland-Electoral System
  • Finland-The Reformation
  • Finland-Basic Metals
  • Finland-Welfare Services
  • Finland-The Finnish Civil War
  • Finland-Constitutional Development
  • Finland-National Pension Plan
  • Finland-Other Industries
  • Finland-Public Finance
  • Finland
  • Finland-GEOGRAPHY
  • Finland-Higher Education
  • Finland-Domestic Developments and Foreign Politics, 1948-66
  • Finland-Arms Acquisitions from Foreign Suppliers
  • Finland-Smaller Parties and the Greens
  • Finland-GEOGRAPHY
  • Finland-Jewish and Muslim Communities
  • Finland-Foreign Trade
  • Finland-The Cold War and the Treaty of 1948
  • Finland-Urbanization
  • Finland-Regional Economic Integration
  • Finland-Interest Groups
  • Finland
  • Finland-Wood-Processing Industries
  • Finland-Growth of the Social Welfare System
  • Finland-Farm Production Patterns
  • Finland-EDUCATION
  • Finland-FAMILY LIFE
  • Finland-Role of Religion
  • Finland-The Center Party
  • Finland-Chapter 5 - National Security
  • Finland-The Social Democratic Party
  • Finland-Internal Migration
  • Finland-Frontier Guard
  • Finland-Uniforms and Insignia
  • Finland-Preface
  • Finland
  • Finland-Marriage
  • Finland-THE ERA OF SWEDISH RULE, c - 1150-1809
  • Finland-Incidence of Crime
  • Finland
  • Finland-The National Coalition Party
  • Finland-Provincial Administration
  • Finland-Police Organization
  • Finland-External Migration
  • Finland
  • Finland-Conditions of Service
  • Finland-Neutrality
  • Finland
  • Finland
  • Finland
  • Finland-RELIGION
  • Finland-The Presidential Election of 1982 and Koivisto's Presidency
  • Finland
  • Finland-Swedish-speaking Finns
  • Finland-SOCIETY
  • Finland-Occupational and Wage Structure
  • Finland-Western Europe
  • Finland-Organization and Duties of the Lutheran Church
  • Finland-SERVICES
  • Finland
  • Finland-Workmen's Compensation
  • Finland-Development of the Health System
  • Finland-INDUSTRY
  • Finland-Electrical Equipment and High Technology
  • Finland-Services for Substance Abusers
  • Finland-United Nations and Third World
  • BackgroundFinland was a province and then a grand duchy under Sweden from the 12th to the 19th centuries, and an autonomous grand duchy of Russia after 1809. It won its complete independence in 1917. During World War II, it was able to successfully defend its freedom and resist invasions by the Soviet Union - albeit with some loss of territory. In the subsequent half century, the Finns made a remarkable transformation from a farm/forest economy to a diversified modern industrial economy; per capita income is now among the highest in Western Europe. A member of the European Union since 1995, Finland was the only Nordic state to join the euro system at its initiation in January 1999.
    LocationNorthern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, and Gulf of Finland, between Sweden and Russia
    Area(sq km)total: 338,145 sq km
    land: 303,815 sq km
    water: 34,330 sq km
    Geographic coordinates64 00 N, 26 00 E
    Land boundaries(km)total: 2,654 km
    border countries: Norway 727 km, Sweden 614 km, Russia 1,313 km

    Coastline(km)1,250 km

    Climatecold temperate; potentially subarctic but comparatively mild because of moderating influence of the North Atlantic Current, Baltic Sea, and more than 60,000 lakes

    Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
    highest point: Haltiatunturi 1,328 m
    Natural resourcestimber, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, chromite, nickel, gold, silver, limestone
    Land use(%)arable land: 6.54%
    permanent crops: 0.02%
    other: 93.44% (2005)

    Irrigated land(sq km)640 sq km (2003)
    Total renewable water resources(cu km)110 cu km (2005)
    Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 2.33 cu km/yr (14%/84%/3%)
    per capita: 444 cu m/yr (1999)
    Natural hazardsNA
    Environment - current issuesair pollution from manufacturing and power plants contributing to acid rain; water pollution from industrial wastes, agricultural chemicals; habitat loss threatens wildlife populations
    Environment - international agreementsparty to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    Geography - notelong boundary with Russia; Helsinki is northernmost national capital on European continent; population concentrated on small southwestern coastal plain
    Population5,250,275 (July 2009 est.)
    Age structure(%)0-14 years: 16.4% (male 438,425/female 422,777)
    15-64 years: 66.8% (male 1,773,495/female 1,732,792)
    65 years and over: 16.8% (male 357,811/female 524,975) (2009 est.)
    Median age(years)total: 42.1 years
    male: 40.5 years
    female: 43.7 years (2009 est.)
    Population growth rate(%)0.098% (2009 est.)
    Birth rate(births/1,000 population)10.38 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
    Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)10.07 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

    Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)0.68 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
    Urbanization(%)urban population: 63% of total population (2008)
    rate of urbanization: 0.8% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
    Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
    under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
    Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 3.47 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 3.78 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 3.15 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

    Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 78.97 years
    male: 75.48 years
    female: 82.61 years (2009 est.)

    Total fertility rate(children born/woman)1.73 children born/woman (2009 est.)
    Nationalitynoun: Finn(s)
    adjective: Finnish
    Ethnic groups(%)Finn 93.4%, Swede 5.6%, Russian 0.5%, Estonian 0.3%, Roma (Gypsy) 0.1%, Sami 0.1% (2006)

    Religions(%)Lutheran Church of Finland 82.5%, Orthodox Church 1.1%, other Christian 1.1%, other 0.1%, none 15.1% (2006)
    Languages(%)Finnish 91.2% (official), Swedish 5.5% (official), other 3.3% (small Sami- and Russian-speaking minorities) (2007)

    Country nameconventional long form: Republic of Finland
    conventional short form: Finland
    local long form: Suomen tasavalta/Republiken Finland
    local short form: Suomi/Finland
    Government typerepublic
    Capitalname: Helsinki
    geographic coordinates: 60 10 N, 24 56 E
    time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
    Administrative divisions6 provinces (laanit, singular - laani); Ahvenanmaan Laani (Aland), Etela-Suomen Laani (Southern Finland), Ita-Suomen Laani (Eastern Finland), Lansi-Suomen Laani (Western Finland), Lapin Laani (Lapland), Oulun Laani

    Legal systemcivil law system based on Swedish law; the president may request the Supreme Court to review laws; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

    Suffrage18 years of age; universal
    Executive branchchief of state: President Tarja HALONEN (since 1 March 2000)
    head of government: Prime Minister Matti VANHANEN (since 24 June 2003); Deputy Prime Minister Jyrki KATAINEN (since 19 April 2007)
    cabinet: Council of State or Valtioneuvosto appointed by the president, responsible to parliament
    elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 15 January 2006 (next to be held in January 2012); the president appoints the prime minister and deputy prime minister from the majority party or the majority coalition after parliamentary elections and the parliament must approve the appointment; Prime Minister VANHANEN reelected 17 April 2007
    election results: percent of vote - Tarja HALONEN (SDP) 46.3%, Sauli NIINISTO (Kok) 24.1%, Matti VANHANEN (Kesk) 18.6%, Heidi HAUTALA (VIHR) 3.5%; a runoff election between HALONEN and NIINISTO was held 29 January 2006 - HALONEN 51.8%, NIINISTO 48.2%; Matti VANHANEN reelected prime minister; election results 121-71
    note: government coalition - Kesk, KOK, VIHR, and SFP
    Legislative branchunicameral Parliament or Eduskunta (200 seats; members are elected by popular vote on a proportional basis to serve four-year terms)
    elections: last held 18 March 2007 (next to be held March 2011)
    election results: percent of vote by party - Kesk 23.1%, Kok 22.3%, SDP 21.4%, VAS 8.8%, VIHR 8.5%, KD 4.9%, SFP 4.5%, True Finns 4.1%, other 3.4%; seats by party - Kesk 51, Kok 50, SDP 45, VAS 17, VIHR 15, SFP 9, KD 7, True Finns 5, other 1

    Judicial branchSupreme Court or Korkein Oikeus (judges appointed by the president)

    International organization participationADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council, Australia Group, BIS, CBSS, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, G-9, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURCAT, NC, NEA, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNMOGIP, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WEU (observer), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
    Flag descriptionwhite with a blue cross extending to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog (Danish flag); the blue represents the thousands of lakes scattered across the country, while the white is for the snow that covers the land in winter

    Economy - overviewFinland has a highly industrialized, largely free-market economy with per capita output roughly that of the UK, France, Germany, and Italy. Its key economic sector is manufacturing - principally the wood, metals, engineering, telecommunications, and electronics industries. Trade is important; Finland's ratio of exports to GDP has risen from a quarter to 37% over the past 15 years. Finland excels in high-tech exports such as mobile phones. Except for timber and several minerals, Finland depends on imports of raw materials, energy, and some components for manufactured goods. Because of the climate, agricultural development is limited to maintaining self-sufficiency in basic products. Forestry, an important export earner, provides a secondary occupation for the rural population. Although Finland has been one of the best performing economies within the EU in recent years and its banks and financial markets have avoided the worst of global financial crisis, the world slowdown has hit export growth and domestic demand and will serve as a brake on economic growth in 2009 and 2010. The slowdown of construction, other investment, and exports will cause unemployment to rise. During 2009, unemployment will climb to over 8% of the labor force. Long-term challenges include the need to address a rapidly aging population and decreasing productivity that threaten competitiveness, fiscal sustainability, and economic growth.
    GDP (purchasing power parity)$194 billion (2008 est.)
    $192.4 billion (2007 est.)
    $184.8 billion (2006 est.)
    note: data are in 2008 US dollars
    GDP (official exchange rate)$271.9 billion (2008 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate(%)0.8% (2008 est.)
    4.1% (2007 est.)
    4.9% (2006 est.)
    GDP - per capita (PPP)$37,000 (2008 est.)
    $36,700 (2007 est.)
    $35,300 (2006 est.)
    note: data are in 2008 US dollars
    GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 2.8%
    industry: 32.4%
    services: 64.9% (2008 est.)
    Labor force2.703 million (2008 est.)

    Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture and forestry 4.5%, industry 18.3%, construction 7.3%, commerce 16%, finance, insurance, and business services 14.5%, transport and communications 7%, public services 32.4% (2008)
    Unemployment rate(%)6.4% (2008 est.)
    6.9% (2007 est.)
    Population below poverty line(%)NA%
    Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: 3.6%
    highest 10%: 24.7% (2007)
    Distribution of family income - Gini index29.5 (2007)
    25.6 (1991)
    Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)20.6% of GDP (2008 est.)
    Budgetrevenues: $143.8 billion
    expenditures: $132.3 billion (2008 est.)
    Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)4.1% (2008 est.)
    2.5% (2007 est.)

    Stock of money$NA (31December 2008)
    $NA (31 December 2007)
    note: see entry for the European Union for money supply in the euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 16 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money and quasi money circulating within their own borders
    Stock of quasi money$NA (31 December 2008)
    $NA (31 December 2007)
    Stock of domestic credit$241.1 billion (31 December 2008)
    $225.4 billion (31 December 2007)
    Market value of publicly traded shares$NA (31 December 2008)
    $369.2 billion (31 December 2007)
    $265.5 billion (31 December 2006)
    Public debt(% of GDP)33.7% of GDP (2008 est.)
    46.8% of GDP (2004 est.)
    Agriculture - productsbarley, wheat, sugar beets, potatoes; dairy cattle; fish
    Industriesmetals and metal products, electronics, machinery and scientific instruments, shipbuilding, pulp and paper, foodstuffs, chemicals, textiles, clothing

    Industrial production growth rate(%)0.4% (2008 est.)

    Current account balance$5.518 billion (2008 est.)
    $10.12 billion (2007 est.)
    Exports$96.62 billion (2008 est.)
    $90.2 billion (2007 est.)

    Exports - commodities(%)electrical and optical equipment, machinery, transport equipment, paper and pulp, chemicals, basic metals; timber
    Exports - partners(%)Russia 11.6%, Sweden 10%, Germany 10%, US 6.4%, UK 5.5%, Netherlands 5.1% (2008)
    Imports$87.51 billion (2008 est.)
    $78.22 billion (2007 est.)

    Imports - commodities(%)foodstuffs, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, transport equipment, iron and steel, machinery, textile yarn and fabrics, grains
    Imports - partners(%)Russia 16.3%, Germany 15.7%, Sweden 13.6%, Netherlands 6.3%, China 5.1%, UK 4.2% (2008)

    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$8.346 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
    $8.385 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
    Debt - external$339.5 billion (31 December 2008)
    $314.1 billion (31 December 2007)

    Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$84.44 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
    $88.69 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
    Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$116 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
    $114.2 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
    Exchange rateseuros (EUR) per US dollar - 0.6827 (2008 est.), 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004)

    Currency (code)euro (EUR)

    Telephones - main lines in use1.65 million (2008)
    Telephones - mobile cellular6.83 million (2008)
    Telephone systemgeneral assessment: modern system with excellent service
    domestic: digital fiber-optic fixed-line network and an extensive cellular network provide domestic needs
    international: country code - 358; submarine cables provide links to Estonia and Sweden; satellite earth stations - access to Intelsat transmission service via a Swedish satellite earth station, 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions); note - Finland shares the Inmarsat earth station with the other Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden)
    Internet country code.fi; note - Aland Islands assigned .ax
    Internet users4.383 million (2008)
    Airports148 (2009)
    Pipelines(km)gas 694 km (2008)
    Roadways(km)total: 78,141 km
    paved: 50,914 km (includes 700 km of expressways)
    unpaved: 27,227 km (2009)

    Ports and terminalsHamina, Helsinki, Kokkola, Kotka, Naantali, Pori, Raahe, Rauma, Turku
    Military branchesFinnish Defense Forces (FDF): Army, Navy (includes Coastal Defense Forces), Air Force (Suomen Ilmavoimat) (2007)
    Military service age and obligation(years of age)18 years of age for male voluntary and compulsory - and female voluntary - national military and nonmilitary service; service obligation 6-12 months; mandatory retirement at age 60 (2008)
    Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 1,169,910
    females age 16-49: 1,121,187 (2008 est.)
    Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 962,479
    females age 16-49: 920,297 (2009 est.)
    Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 33,784
    female: 32,621 (2009 est.)
    Military expenditures(% of GDP)2% of GDP (2005 est.)
    Disputes - internationalvarious groups in Finland advocate restoration of Karelia and other areas ceded to the Soviet Union, but the Finnish Government asserts no territorial demands

    Electricity - production(kWh)77.24 billion kWh (2007 est.)
    Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 39%
    hydro: 18.7%
    nuclear: 30.4%
    other: 11.8% (2001)
    Electricity - consumption(kWh)86.9 billion kWh (2008)
    Electricity - exports(kWh)3.335 billion kWh (2008 est.)
    Electricity - imports(kWh)16.11 billion kWh (2008 est.)
    Oil - production(bbl/day)9,789 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - consumption(bbl/day)215,600 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - exports(bbl/day)133,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - imports(bbl/day)347,400 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Economic aid - donorODA, $1.023 billion (2007)

    Oil - proved reserves(bbl)0 bbl
    Natural gas - production(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
    Natural gas - consumption(cu m)4.735 billion cu m (2008 est.)
    Natural gas - exports(cu m)0 cu m (2008)
    Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)less than 0.1% (2007 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS2,400 (2007 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - deathsfewer than 100 (2003 est.)
    Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 100%
    male: 100%
    female: 100% (2000 est.)

    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)(years)total: 17 years
    male: 17 years
    female: 18 years (2006)
    Education expenditures(% of GDP)6.4% of GDP (2005)

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