Title: The Republic of Finland

Population: 5,587,442

Population Change: 0.15

National Average Age: 43

Urban Percentage: 86

Christian Population: 3,965,000

Christian Percentage: 71.9

Introduction: 'Finland is a Northern European nation bordering Sweden Norway and Russia. Its capital Helsinki occupies a peninsula and surrounding islands in the Baltic Sea. Helsinki is home to the 18th-century sea fortress Suomenlinna the fashionable Design District and diverse museums. The Northern Lights can be seen from the country''s Arctic Lapland province a vast wilderness with national parks and ski resorts.'

Overview: Finland was a province and then a grand duchy under Sweden from the 12th to the 19th centuries and an autonomous grand duchy of Russia after 1809. It gained complete independence in 1917. During World War II Finland successfully defended its independence through cooperation with Germany and resisted subsequent invasions by the Soviet Union - albeit with some loss of territory. In the subsequent half century Finland transformed from a farm/forest economy to a diversified modern industrial economy; per capita income is among the highest in Western Europe. A member of the EU since 1995 Finland was the only Nordic state to join the euro single currency at its initiation in January 1999. In the 21st century the key features of Finland's modern welfare state are high quality education promotion of equality and a national social welfare system - currently challenged by an aging population and the fluctuations of an export-driven economy.