At the beginning of 2018, the number of residents with a foreign mother tongue in Helsinki amounted to 98,269. The most common foreign mother tongue of Helsinki residents is Russian, with 18,163 native speakers at the beginning of 2018, i.e. about every fifth resident with a foreign mother tongue. Next in size are those with either Estonian, Somali or Arabic as their mother tongue. Almost half of the residents with a foreign mother tongue are native speakers of some of the four most common languages. The rest of the mother tongues are very varied: at the beginning of 2018, the number of mother tongues registered in Helsinki was 138. However, 75 of these had less than 100 speakers.

The order of size between the mother-tongue groups has remained almost the same and all large language groups have grown since the year 2000. With their number doubling over the 2000s, Russian-speaking residents have remained the largest group. Other large language groups have grown even faster.