Finnish Women in Gainesville, Florida




Halmari, Helena
Halmari-Meneses, Irene

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Siirtolaisuus – Migration


In this article, we take a look at Gainesville, a northern Florida university town, as a sample of today’s (2010) Finnish-American immigration patterns. The Gainesville area has a history of Finnish immigration, but, as elsewhere in the United States, the stereotypical immigrant has changed from a male laborer more to an educated woman. We base the article on interviews with eleven Finnish women living in Gainesville. What the interviews show is that all these women treasure their Finnish heritage and their Finnish or bicultural identity. They maintain contacts with Finland, intend to maybe return there one day, and attempt to pass the Finnish language to their children. These women differ from the typical immigrants of the late 19th and early 20th centuries: in addition to being highly educated and of a higher socio-economic class, they live in a different world where visiting the ‘Old Country’ is often an annual possibility, where Finnish language can be accessed via the internet, DVDs, telephones, and Skype, and where returning to Finland is not out of the question. Yet, these Finnish women struggle to pass their Finnish cultural identity and the Finnish language to their children, and just like the Finnish immigrants a century ago, they feel a sense of community, being brought together by the mere common denominator of Finnishness.


Article originally published by Siirtolaisuus – Migration in 2010.


Finnish immigrants, bicultural, Finnish cultural identity, community


Halmari-Meneses, I., & Halmari, H. (2010). Finnish women in Gainesville, Florida. Siirtolaisuus-Migration, 37(2), 20–24. Noudettu osoitteesta