|• Town manager||Niku Latva-Pukkila|
|• Total||1,315.54 km2 (507.93 sq mi)|
|• Land||1,299.10 km2 (501.59 sq mi)|
|• Water||16.46 km2 (6.36 sq mi)|
|• Rank||55th largest in Finland|
|• Rank||80th largest in Finland|
|• Density||9.92/km2 (25.7/sq mi)|
|• Demonym||Kauhajokinen (Finnish)|
|Population by native language|
|• Finnish||98.7% (official)|
|Population by age|
|• 0 to 14||15.1%|
|• 15 to 64||57%|
|• 65 or older||27.9%|
|Time zone||UTC+02:00 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+03:00 (EEST)|
|Municipal tax rate||22%|
Kauhajoki (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈkɑu̯hɑˌjoki]; literally “Scoop River”) is a town and municipality of Finland. It is located in the province of Western Finland and is part of the Southern Ostrobothnia region, 59 kilometres (37 mi) southwest of the city of Seinäjoki. The population of Kauhajoki is 12,889 (31 December 2021) and the municipality covers an area of 1,299.10 km2 (501.59 sq mi) of which 16.46 km2 (6.36 sq mi) is inland water (1 January 2018). The population density is 9.92/km2 (25.7/sq mi). The town is unilingually Finnish.
The neighboring municipalities of Kauhajoki are Isojoki in the southwest, Kankaanpää in the south, Karijoki in the west, Karvia in the southeast, Kurikka in the north and Teuva in the west. Kauhajoki is the center of the Suupohja sub-region.
Most of Kauhajoki is located north of the Suomenselkä's watershed. Most of the municipal area is a gently sloping plains to the west and north. On the border of the Kauhajoki and Isojoki is Lauhanvuori, one of the highest points in Western Finland, which rises 231 meters above sea level. However, the highest point of Lauhanvuori is on the Isojoki side, a few tens of meters from the Kauhajoki border.
Permanent settlement in the Kauhajoki area began in the 16th century and in 1584 chapel was built in Kauhajoki.
When the Soviet Union attacked Finland in the Winter War, in early December 1939 Parliament was evacuated and the legislature temporarily relocated to Kauhajoki, a town in western Finland far away from the frontline. The parliament held 34 plenary sessions in Kauhajoki, with the last on 12 February 1940.
2008 vocational college shooting
On 23 September 2008, a school shooting at a vocational college in the city left 11 dead, including the gunman, and another woman wounded. The incident was the second school shooting in less than a year in Finland, the other being the Jokela school shooting in November 2007, in which nine people including the gunman died. Before that, only one other school shooting had taken place in the country's history, in Rauma in 1989, leaving two people dead.
Some internationally successful Kauhajokian sports figures include:
- Jouko Salomäki, the 1984 Olympic Champion in Greco-Roman wrestling, was born in Kauhajoki.
- Kaarlo Maaninka, the 1980 Olympic silver and bronze medalist in long distance running, lives in Kauhajoki. He also represented the town's sports club Kauhajoen Karhu during his career.
- Vesa Hietalahti, the 2003 World Championship silver medalist in biathlon, was born and lives in Kauhajoki. He also represented the town's sports club Kauhajoen Karhu throughout his career.
- Heli Koivula Kruger, the 2002 European Championship silver medalist in triple jump, was born in Kauhajoki. She also represented the town's sports club Kauhajoen Karhu throughout her career.
- Jani Haapamäki, the 2009 European Champion in Greco-Roman wrestling, was born in Kauhajoki. He also represents the town's sports club Kauhajoen Karhu.
- "Area of Finnish Municipalities 1.1.2018" (PDF). National Land Survey of Finland. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
- "Preliminary population structure by area, 2021M01*-2021M12*". StatFin (in Finnish). Statistics Finland. Retrieved 2 February 2022.
- "Population according to language and the number of foreigners and land area km2 by area as of 31 December 2008". Statistics Finland's PX-Web databases. Statistics Finland. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
- "Population according to age (1-year) and sex by area and the regional division of each statistical reference year, 2003–2020". StatFin. Statistics Finland. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
- "List of municipal and parish tax rates in 2021" (PDF). Tax Administration of Finland. 1 December 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2021.
- "Kauhajoki · Kauhajoki, Suomi". Retrieved 2021-09-23.
- "Kauhajoki - Yritykset ja työnantajat - Finder.fi". Finder.fi (in Finnish). Retrieved 2021-09-23.
- Matti Porkkala & V. J. Marttila (1963). Kauhajoki (in Finnish). Kauhajoki-Seura ry. p. 3.
- Liisa Ruismäki (1987). Kauhajoen historia: esihistoriasta vuoteen 1918 (in Finnish). Jyväskylä: Kauhajoen kunta ja seurakunta. p. 41–42. ISBN 951-99888-2-3.
- "Eduskunnan viettää muistojuhlaa Kauhajoella 2.–3.12.2006" (in Finnish). Eduskunta. December 2, 2006. Retrieved November 30, 2021.
- "Parliament to recreate Winter War evacuation". Yle Uutiset. 2019-11-30. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
- "School Shootings Rare in Finland". YLE. 2007-11-07. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
- Jaakko Kolmonen (1988). Kotomaamme ruoka-aitta: Suomen, Karjalan ja Petsamon pitäjäruoat (in Finnish). Helsinki: Patakolmonen. p. 148. ISBN 951-96047-3-1.
- Town of Kauhajoki – official site (in Finnish)