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period in Sweden's Värmland province, preserving their genes, even their language, for centuries. 55 But the world has changed since those times, and Finnish-Americans are far from being `forest Finns'. The Päivälehti outburst, "The Finns from Finland are disappearing; they are not just decreasing in numbers, they will disappear altogether from America" 56 is only too true. It is hardly exaggerated to state that they are disappearing at the rate of five percent per year.

The Composition of the Finnish Immigrant Group

The statistics cited on the previous pages include both Finnish and Swedish-speaking Finns. The statistics embrace the young and the old, men and women, married and single persons, rich and poor. Since all these settlers in Minnesota have faced the same problem of learning a new language, have lived and grown old, have married and raised families, grown richer or poorer, it may be interesting to differentiate them somewhat on the basis of what they were like when they left Finland.

The extent of immigration of Swedish-speaking Finns has been considered as impossible to estimate, since all statistics available lump all persons of Finnish origin together. However, since the area from which the Swedish-speaking Finns did emigrate is reasonably limited, population changes within that area can serve as a guide. A 1910 census revealed, for example, that the population of the Swedish-speaking communities in Ostrobothnia had decreased by 6,000 persons in a period of 30 years. Within that same period the population of Finland as a whole had increased by a million persons, and the figure of Swedish-speaking Finns in the Uusimaa province had increased by more than 47,000 persons. It would seem natural to expect the Swedishspeaking population of Ostrobothnia to have increased proportionately, but since there was a decrease instead, the decrease must be attributed to emigration since it is also known that population shifts internally from one province to another were extremely limited. The 1930 census showed that 4,500 Aland Islanders had moved abroad, most of them apparently to the United States, and since this island province was more than 90% Swedish-speaking at the time in question, the emigration can be credited to that element of Finns. Emigration of Swedish-speaking Finns from the Finland Proper and Uusimaa provinces can be estimated to

55. Oskari Tokoi in Suomen Sosialidemokraatti, October 16,1953. 56. Päivälehti, February 24, 1948.


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