Helsinki in a Nutshell

Helsinki is the centre of a rapidly growing large metropolitan city area. Helsinki, together with the municipalities of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area (Espoo, Vantaa, and Kauniainen) and eight neighbouring municipalities, forms an area with a population of over 1.5 million residents, which is referred to as the Helsinki Region. As of 31 December 2020 Helsinki had a population of 656,920. As of the end of 2020 the population density was 3,065.6 residents per land area square kilometre. The city of Helsinki’s surface area is 715.48 km2, of which 213.75 km2 (29.9%) is land, 0.86 km² is inland waters, and 500.87 km² sea waters. The majority of the city’s green areas are forest (45.9 km²), parks (9.25 km²) and landscape fields or meadows (10.7 km²). There were a total of 448,400 jobs in Helsinki in 2020. Helsinki accounts for 18 per cent of Finland’s jobs.

In 2020, the global Covid-19 pandemic affected Helsinki significantly from both health and socio-economic perspectives. Although, the City survived the year 2020 relatively well economically speaking, the long-term consequences of the crisis will only become clear in the future. Especially the most vulnerable citizens are of concern. The crisis increased considerably the level of unemployment in the city as Helsinki’s business demographics are strongly service-oriented. The pandemic also inhibited face-to-face meetings with Helsinki’s international partners. Nevertheless, the city became increasingly active in international collaboration during the year 2020.

From an environmental impact's perspective, the City of Helsinki is one of the most significant actors at the Finnish scale. In Helsinki, greenhouse gas emissions resulting from energy consumption and other consumption account for approximately seven per cent of Finland’s greenhouse gas emissions. The Viikinmäki wastewater treatment plant cleans the wastewater produced by approximately 800,000 people. Additionally, as Finland’s largest employer, the City’s operations have significant environmental impacts due to the volume of office work, for example.

The Helsinki Group comprises the following entities:

  • The City as a parent entity (4 divisions, City Executive Office, Audit Department and 5 municipal enterprises).
  • Subsidiary entities, i.e. organisation which are owned directly by the City (82 subsidiary organisations and 12 foundations).
  • Associated entities, i.e. companies, foundations and joint municipal authorities in which the City has a 20–50 per cent ownership stake (38 associated companies and 6 joint municipal authorities).

At the end of 2020, the City employed 39,152 people.