Around 5.3 million people reside in Finland, with the majority concentrated in the southern part of the country. It is the eighth largest country in Europe in terms of area and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. The native language for most of the population is Finnish. The second official language, Swedish, is spoken by a 5.5 percent minority. Finland is a democratic, parliamentary republic with a mostly Helsinki-based central government.
A total of a million residents live in Greater Helsinki (including Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen) and a third of the GDP is produced there. Other major cities include Tampere, Turku, and Oulu.
Finland has seen excellent results in many international comparisons of national performance such as the share of high-technology manufacturing, public education, the rate of gross domestic product growth, and the protection of civil liberties.