Monday, January 07, 2008

For fuck's sake!

People who like to talk about immigration, occasionally myself included, tend to talk about the problematic groups. This is understandable: the people who are concerned about the security issues are primarily interested in the groups that pose a high risk with regard to crime and terrorism, the people who are concerned about humanitarian issues are interested in the groups that need help, the people who are concerned about the financial issues are counting the unemployed and the people who wish to show how tolerant they are feel it's a bit lame to preach about the tolerance towards, say, the Norwegians.

It's quite OK, really. The problem is not that people want to talk about the specific groups. The problem is that they tend to refer to those groups as "immigrants" and disregard all other immigrants as a marginal phenomenon. Since all other immigrants tend to include the majority of immigrants, this makes all the conversations about statistics quite surreal.

The normal modus operandi of the anti-immigration folks:

1. Point out, more or less correctly, the problems of the highly problematic groups.
2. Look up the immigration statistics concerning all immigrants, and in some cases also some Finns.
3. Faint in horror.

The normal modus operandi of the pro-immigration folks:

1. Look up some statistics concerning all immigrants.
2. Claim that all the immigrant groups are doing OK, since on average they do, unless they don't and you can somehow blame it on the Finns, in which case:
3. Claim that all the immigrant groups are doing badly, and blame it on the Finns.

Pointing out the facts works, but only temporarily. Still I'll try one more time:

First of all, the number quoted recently by HS: 25900 people have moved to Finland last year. No, this really doesn't mean that 25900 Somalis armed with Kalashnikovs and screaming "Allahu Akbar" have immigrated to Finland. This doesn't even mean that 25900 of anyone have immigrated to Finland. This is the number of people who have moved to Finland after living somewhere else. Fairly many of whom are, not very surprisingly, Finns.

I don't have the breakdown for 2007, but the latest year for which I do have the breakdown, 2004, had 20333 people move in: 11511 foreigners and 8822 Finns. The rates might have changed, but hardly a lot.

Tilastokeskus has the breakdown by the country from where people move, for 2006 when 22451 person has moved to Finland. 11580 were from the other EU countries, 4229 from the rest of Europe (which included Turkey), 1272 from Africa, 1116 from North America, 377 from South America, 3460 from Asia. All these numbers include Finns returning from those countries.

From Väestörekisteri, for 31.12.06:

1. There are 5276955 people living in Finland
2. 121739 are foreigners, which makes them 2.3% of the population.
3. 158599 have a native language that is neither Finnish nor Swedish nor Saame, and probably are or used to be foreigners, which makes them 3% of the population. This statistic is probably strongly skewed by not taking into account Finnish- and Swedish-speaking immigrants.
4. 42420 foreigners are from EU, which makes them 34.8% of the foreigners.
5. 25314 foreigners are from Russia, which makes them 20.8% of the foreigners.
6. 16748 are from Somalia, Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Bosnia, which
makes then 13.8% of the foreigners
7. 34896 speak Somali, Arabic, Kurdish, Albanian, Turkish and Persian as their native languages, which makes them 22% of people who are current or former foreigners, and a whole 0.66% of the population of Finland.

I am not saying all this to shut up the people who are concerned about minorities with high rates of crime and/or jihadist activity. It's better to be concerned now when they are few and far between, then in the distant future when burning cars becomes a regional sport in the sensitive neighborhoods and you need to take your belt off and go through a metal detector to get into a public library. Also, the fact that such a tiny group is responsible for such a high percentage of Turku's violent crime probably means that the problems are very severe indeed.

I am saying this because I am sick and tired of people freaking out every time they see any statistic that mentions immigration. It is quite right to be concerned about crime, terrorism, and political Islam - just remember that a random person in Tilastokeskus's statistic of people moving into Finland is a lot more likely to be a Lutheran than a Muslim.

(Sorry for mentioning the groups that I deem likely to be responsible for the surge of the violent crime in Turku. I don't have the statistics by country, but again, I would be very surprised if many of the culprits turned out to be Danish and Japanese, and I would immediately write about it here; occasionally shit does happen, and everyone remembers at least one Danish murderer in Finland. The reason I am sorry for mentioning the ones I mentioned is that it is quite possible that only members of some of these groups are responsible, and the whole crime surge has happened without, for example, a contribution of a single Iranian.)

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