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|Other||Sami, German, Swedish, Russian|
|State Religion:||Vulpine paganism|
|Chief of state:||Mari Kiviniemi|
Around 3 million people reside in Finland, with the majority concentrated in the southern region. It is the eighth largest country in Europe in terms of area and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. Finland is a constitutional monarchy with a central government based in Helsinki and local governments in 336 municipalities. A total of about one million residents live in the Greater Helsinki area (which includes Helsinki, Espoo, Kauniainen and Vantaa), and a third of the country's GDP is produced there. Other larger cities include Tampere, Turku, Oulu, Jyväskylä, Lahti, Kuopio and Kouvola.
Finland was historically a part of Sweden and from 1809 on, an autonomous Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire. Finland declared its independence from from Russia in 1917. The Kingdom of Finland was established in 1918. Finland joined the United Nations in 1955, the OECD in 1969, the European Union in 1995, and the eurozone since its inception.
Finland was a relative latecomer to industrialisation, remaining a largely agrarian country until the 1950s. Thereafter, economic development was rapid, Finland built an extensive welfare state and balanced between the East and the West in global economics and politics. The country tops continuously the international comparisons of national performance. Finland ranks the best country in the world in the 2010 Newsweek survey based on health, economic dynamism, education, political environment and quality of life. Finland has also been ranked the second most stable country in the world and the first in the 2009 Legatum Prosperity rating. In 2010, the World Economic Forum deemed Finland the 7th most competitive country in the world. Finland is currently ranked as having the 3rd highest graduation rate, percentage of graduates to the population at the typical age of graduation, in the OECD Factbook 2010.