Swedish-speaking population of Finland
The Swedish-speaking population of Finland (whose members are often called Swedish-speaking Finns, Finland-Swedes, Finland Swedes, Finnish Swedes, Swedes of Finland see below; Swedish: finlandssvenskar; Finnish: suomenruotsalaiset; the term Swedo-Finnish Swedish: finlandssvensk; Finnish: suomenruotsalainen can be used as an attributive phrase) is a linguistic minority in Finland. They maintain a strong identity and are seen either as a separate ethnic group, while still being Finns, or as a distinct nationality. They speak Finland Swedish, which encompasses both a standard language and distinct dialects that are mutually intelligible with the dialects spoken in Sweden and, to a lesser extent, other Scandinavian languages.According to Statistics Finland, Swedish is the mother tongue of about 265,000 people in mainland Finland and of about 25,000 people in Åland, a self-governing archipelago of islands off the west coast of Finland, where Swedish speakers constitute a majority. Swedish-speakers comprise 5.4% of the total Finnish population or about 4.9% without Åland. The proportion has been steadily diminishing since the early 19th century, when Swedish was the mother tongue of approximately 15% of the population and considered a prestige language. According to a statistical analysis made by Fjalar Finnäs, the population of the minority group is today stable and may even be increasing slightly in total numbers since more parents from bilingual families tend to register their children as Swedish speakers. It is estimated that 70% of bilingual families—that is, ones with one parent Finnish-speaking and the other Swedish-speaking—register their children as Swedish-speaking.