Linguistic and cultural minorities

Cultural and linguistic minorities have their own culture, language or religion that differs from those of the majority population. Traditional cultural minorities in Finland are Swedish-speaking Finns, the Roma, Ingerian Finns, Karelian speakers in Finland, Jews and Tatars. The Saami are a recognised indigenous people.

The estimated numbers of these population groups in Finland are:

  • approx. 290,000 Swedish-speaking Finns
  • approx. 10,000 to 12,000 Roma
  • approx. 6,000 to10,000 Saami
  • approx. 1,300 Jews
  • approx. 900 Tatars.

Entering ethnic origin in registers is prohibited under the Personal Data Act, and for this reason, the number of Roma people in Finland, for instance, is based on an estimate. Personal Data Act (523/1999, section 11).

The rights of linguistic and cultural minorities are protected under legislation. For example, providing information and offering services in the client's language promote access to services.