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At that time, many young people left the rural east and northeast to work in the urban industrialized south.

In the twentieth century, a falling birthrate and emigration led to very low population growth.

Dramatic internal migration accompanied an economic transformation between the 1950s and the mid-1970s, when agriculture and the forestry industry were rapidly mechanized.

A distinction between urban, industrialized, coastal southwestern Finland and the rural interior northeast is an important historical and regional division in terms of culture and identity.

While language was a highly divisive issue as late as the 1920s and 1930s, many Finnish speakers now recognize the value of Swedish for communicating with other Nordic countries.

Citizens throughout the country fly the national flag, a blue cross on a white background, during the celebration of Midsummer.

The national coat of arms, a crowned lion standing on a red field with silver roses, derives from Swedish heraldic crests of the sixteenth century and appears on a variety of postage stamps, banknotes and coins, and official seals.

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.