At the beginning of 2018, Helsinki’s population included people with a total of 167 different nationalities. The number of foreign nationals living in Helsinki was 60,969. Of foreign nationals, 39 per cent were from EU countries and 13 per cent from elsewhere in Europe. 30 per cent were Asians, 12 per cent Africans, 3 per cent from North America and 2 per cent from South America. The largest group of foreign nationals, with 12,324 people, was Estonians, followed by Russian nationals (5,876 people), and Iraqi nationals (3, 098).

Many former Somali nationals have acquired Finnish citizenship: The number of residents with a Somalian background in Helsinki was three times higher than that of Somali nationals. There were also a lot more residents with a background in the former Soviet Union than Russian nationals. Many of them are Ingrians, i.e. ethnic Finns from Russia, who were granted the status of returnees, or their family members. On the other hand, the number of Estonian nationals was almost the same as that of residents with an Estonian background. The number of people with a Swedish background was even smaller than that of Swedish nationals. This is mainly explained by Finns born in Sweden, who have later moved to Finland.

Finnish citizenship was obtained by 2,322 foreign nationals in Helsinki in 2016. The number of people obtaining Finnish citizenship was clearly larger than in earlier years both in Helsinki and Finland as a whole. The largest groups obtaining Finnish citizenship were Somalis, Russians, Iraqis, Estonians, and Turks. In Finland as a whole, 9,375 foreign nationals who had been living permanently in the country obtained Finnish citizenship. Between 2000 and 2016, Finnish citizenship was granted to almost 25,000 people in Helsinki.