The Finnish gene pool derives primarily from a relatively homogeneous Finno-Ugric population established during the Iron Age (100 B.C.-800 A.D.) in the southwest and southeast of Finland. Gene flow from Sweden to the southwest coastal areas, dating from prehistoric times, as well as the patterns of settlement and migration throughout Finland during the past 1000 years, appear to have been the major biosocial factors underlying the genetic structure of the contemporary population. Analysis of genetic variation and covariation at nine polymorphic loci in a large random sample of rural Finns, partitioned into either 8 countries or 27 geographic districts, showed that all of the essential features of the genetic structure suggested by the archaeological and historical data could be distinguished. Procedures for obtaining inference on the genetic structure of such a population are reviewed, including coefficients of similarity and (genetic) distance among subpopulations, the relation between linear or planar geographic structure and genetic covariation, and the methods for describing allelic differentiation. Bias resulting from the inappropriate assumption of a simple phylogenetic model can be substantial, expecially for the analysis of isolation by distance; procedures for avoiding misleading inference on the genetic structure are demonstrated.