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Substantial Finnish populations live in Russia, the United States, Canada, and Sweden, and smaller numbers reside in Australia, South Africa, and Latin America. Finnish belongs to the family of Finno-Ugric languages in northeastern Europe, Russia, and western Siberia, a group that includes Saami (Lapp) and Hungarian.
By the beginning of the Bronze Age around 1500 , these tribes were geographically divided.
The climate in the south and west is moderated by the waters of the Gulf Stream and north Atlantic drift current. In 1997, the population was about 5,147,000 people, of whom 93 percent were ethnically and linguistically Finns.
High mortality from wars and famine dampened population growth between the sixteenth and late nineteenth centuries.
A combination of archaeological, historical linguistic, and genetic evidence suggests that the spread of the "Comb Ceramic" culture in northern Finland around 4000 may represent the appearance of a proto-Finnic-speaking population in that region that came from an eastern European source area.
As the "Battle-Axe or Corded Ware" culture arrived in southwestern Finland around 3000 , proto-Finnic began diverging into early Saami-speaking and Finnish-speaking populations.