North Karelia
Norra Karelen
—  Region  —

Coat of arms
North Karelia on a map of Finland
Country Finland
Historical province Karelia
 • Total 21,584.41 km2 (8,333.79 sq mi)
Population (2009)
 • Total 166,500
 • Density 7.7000000000000/km2 (20/sq mi)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
ISO 3166 code FI-13
NUTS 133
Regional bird Cuckoo
Regional fish Lake salmon
Regional flower Prickly rose

North Karelia (Finnish: Pohjois-Karjala; Swedish: Norra Karelen) is a region in eastern Finland. It borders the regions of Kainuu, Northern Savonia, Southern Savonia and South Karelia, as well as Russia.

The city of Joensuu is the capital of North Karelia.

North Karelia is renowned among public health officials.[1] In the 1960s Finland led industrialized nations in heart disease mortality rates; North Karelia had Finland's highest incidence. In 1972 a long-term project was undertaken which targeted this risk in North Karelia.[2] The resulting improvement in public health is still considered remarkable, a model for the rest of the nation.[3]

Historical province[]


The region of North Karelia is made up of 13 municipalities, of which four have city status (marked in bold).

Joensuu sub-region:

  • Ilomantsi (5,693)
  • Joensuu (74,475)
  • Juuka (5,355)
  • Kontiolahti (14,104)
  • Liperi (12,288)
  • Outokumpu (7,396)
  • Polvijärvi (4,772)

Central Karelia sub-region:

  • Kitee (9,083)
  • Rääkkylä (2,528)
  • Tohmajärvi (4,975)

Pielinen Karelia sub-region:

  • Lieksa (12,568)
  • Nurmes (8,358)
  • Valtimo (2,438)


The coat of arms of North Karelia is composed of the arms of Karelia.


Institutions of higher education in North Karelia include:

  • University of Eastern Finland
  • North Karelia University of Applied Sciences

Both of these institutions are found in Joensuu.


Results of the Finnish parliamentary election, 2011 in North Karelia:

  • Social Democratic Party 26.4%
  • Centre Party 26.2%
  • True Finns 23.1%
  • National Coalition Party 10.5%
  • Green League 5.4%
  • Left Alliance 4.2%
  • Christian Democrats 2.8%

Image gallery[]


  1. ^ "The North Karelia Project: 30 years successfully preventing chronic diseases". International Diabetes Federation. 
  2. ^ "Change in risk factors for coronary heart disease during 10 years of a community intervention programme (North Karelia project)". Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 287: 1840–4. DOI:10.1136/bmj.287.6408.1840. PMID 6423038. “After the second world war cardiovascular diseases, predominantly coronary heart disease, became the leading public health problem in most of the industrialised world. Mortality statistics and other studies showed that in the 1960s the highest heart disease mortality rates were observed in Finland, predominantly in men. Within Finland the highest rates were registered in eastern Finland and were particularly high in the county of North Karelia.” 
  3. ^ "THE NORTH KARELIA PROJECT: FROM NORTH KARELIA TO NATIONAL ACTION". National Institute for Health and Welfare (Finland) [1]. "In first five years of the North Karelia Project, for example, most of the reduction in cigarette smoking took place in the first year of the programme; most hypertensive individuals who brought their blood pressure under control achieved this by the end of the third year; dietary changes took place gradually over a five-year period; and, as noted earlier, at the end of five years, a net reduction in risk-factor levels was observed. Concerning mortality, CHD incidence and mortality rates started to decline surprisingly quickly after the start of the intervention in North Karelia. In the rest of the country, a similar decline started several years later. Thus a significant net change in favour of North Karelia was observed, especially in 1974 to 1979 (Salonen et al, 1983). Thereafter, although the decline in North Karelia continued, the net decline was gradually reduced. Thus maximal difference in favour of the intervention area was observed some 5-8 years after its start (Puska et al, 1995). For cancer mortality, a net reduction in favour of North Karelia could be observed much later, i.e., 5 to 10 years after the intervention commenced." 

External links[]

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This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at North Karelia. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.