Form of Government: Constitutional monarchy
Area: 447 426 sq km
Population: 10 379 295 inhab. (estimate 2020)
Density: 23.2 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 69° - 55° N; long. 11° - 24° E
Capital: Stockholm (capital) 975 551 inhab. (2020); Greater Stockholm 2 391 990 inhab. (2020), urban agglomeration
Currency: Swedish krona (100 öre)
Human development index: 0.945 (rank: 7)
Sovereign: King Karl XVI Gustaf, since 15 September 1973
Prime Minister: Stefan Löfven (SAP), since 2 October 2014, re-elected 18 January 2019
Parliament: seats (August 2020 update): SAP (Social Democratic Party), 100; M (Moderates), 70; SD (Swedish Democrats, right-wing nationalist), 62; C (Centre Party), 31; V (Left Party), 27; KD (Christian Democrats), 22; FP (Liberals), 19; Greens, 16; others, 2
Internet: www.scb.se (Statistics Sweden)
Member of Council of Europe, EBRD, EU, Nordic Council, OAS observer, OECD, OSCE, UN, WTO
International license plate code S
International dialling code 0046
Travel vaccinations requirement none
Electricity (Voltage) 230
Driving side rigth
Internet code .se
DST duration (start-end) late March-late October
Annual average temperature (°C) Stockholm 6.6; Göteborg 7.6
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Stockholm -3/18; Göteborg -1/17.5
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Stockholm 10/1; Göteborg 10/1
Annual average precipitation (mm) Stockholm 560; Göteborg 670
Days of rainfall (annual average) Stockholm 104; Göteborg 116
Politics and current affairs
The less restrictive approach to managing the COVID-19 pandemic was criticized by King Carl XVI Gustaf. According to The Lancet, Sweden’s approach was likely to result in four or five times more deaths than neighbouring Nordic countries. On 21 June 2021, for the first time in Swedish history, Prime Minister Löfven lost a vote of no confidence after introducing a controversial housing market reform. The crisis was mended and on 7 July 2021, Löfven received parliamentary approval to form a new government.
Sweden is bordered to the north and west by Norway and to the north-east by Finland. It lies on the Gulf of Bothnia and to the east, the Baltic Sea to the south-east and the Kattegat to the south-west.
Sweden occupies the eastern side of the Scandinavian peninsula and has a long, thin shape going from north to south. The south-western coasts are characterized by deep inlets (fjords). The mountain range which runs down the country forming the border with Norway (Monte Kebnekaise, 2111 m) gradually slopes down to the east, with many plateaux, partly covered by glaciers and dotted with lakes. In the eastern part, the landscape drops in a series of terraces towards the sea. Lakes cover 8% of the land area and are mostly found in the south (the largest is Lake Vänern). The main rivers are the River Torne, the River Lule and the River Ume, all of which flow into the Baltic Sea.
The climate is characterized by generally low temperatures, with great differences between north and south.
An independent Kingdom since the thirteenth century, from the 1930s onwards the social democratic and conservative parties have alternated in power. On 14 September 2003 the country decided not to enter the Eurozone for the time being. According to the Constitution of 1 January 1975, the Parliament (Riksdag) has legislative power and is made up of 349 members elected for a four-year term by direct suffrage. Elections are based on the system proportional representation with a minimum of at least 4% of votes required to obtain any seats in parliament. The government is answerable to the Riksdag.
Sweden maintains a policy of neutrality, though it has an efficient army. Due to the tensions in the Baltic Sea and Eastern Europe, the government has brought back military conscription, involving the recruitment of 4000 men and women from 1 January 2018. The debate on the possibility of joining NATO continues.
The legal system is based on European continental systems, with some common law elements.
|Greater Stockholm||2 391 990||inhab.||2020|
|Greater Gothenburg||1 049 592||inhab.||2020|
|Population by age and gender (% - 2020)|
There is a very large urban population. The drop in the birth rate has been offset by an increase in immigration, which mostly comes from the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the Balkans. There are some native minority groups: Finns (in the Torne valley) and Lapps (in the extreme north).
|Foreigners, total||905 323||units||2020|
In 2020, the GDP fell by 2.8%, despite a “soft” government approach to pandemic restrictions. The economy is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021 (+3.1%).
|Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)||99.95||index||2016|
|Agricultural prod. index (2014-16=100)||100.24||index||2019|
|Active population||5 522 100||units||2020|
|Active population, Females||47.2||%||2020|
|Unemployment rate, Females||47.2||%||2020|
|Expenses||1 648 659||M LCU||2020|
|Revenues||1 492 378||M LCU||2020|
|Currency in circulation||62.853||BN LCU||2020|
|International reserves||58 260.345||M US$||2020|
Although it is only concentrated in a small part of the country’s total area, agriculture is highly productive, thanks to the use of advanced technology. There are good harvests of cereal crops (barley, wheat, oats and rye) but they are unable to meet national demand.
The only other crop worthy of mention is potatoes. Industrial-scale farming is concentrated on sugar beet.
Forests, livestock and fishing.
The forests are a valuable resource, and are used carefully due to the Sweden’s stringent environmental laws. Two-thirds of primary-sector output comes from livestock (especially pigs and cattle).
Some animals peculiar to Sweden are raised: reindeer and other animals bred for their fur. Fishing, which is particularly important on the western coast, is in decline.
|barley||1 546.5||1000 t||2019|
|cereals, total||6 147.7||1000 t||2019|
|roots and tubers, total||846.9||1000 t||2019|
|beans, dry||103.7||1000 t||2016|
|beans, green||0.26||1000 t||2019|
|sugar beet||2 028.9||1000 t||2019|
|carrots and turnips||1.71||1000 ha||2019|
|beans, dry||29.57||1000 ha||2016|
|beans, green||0.1||1000 ha||2019|
|sugar beet||27.16||1000 ha||2019|
|timber||75 500 000||m³||2019|
|cattle||1 404.67||1000 heads||2019|
|cattle and buffaloes||1 404.67||1000 heads||2019|
|pigs||1 481.2||1000 heads||2019|
|equines, total||102.034||1000 heads||2018|
|birds||9 196||1000 heads||2018|
|crustaceans and molluscs||5 831.3||t||2019|
|freshwater fishes||4 110||t||2019|
Sweden is particularly rich in iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, gold and silver. Mining activities in the north of the country continue, where many exploration projects for minerals, metals and rare metals are being carried out. Sweden is, however, lacking in sources of fuel. There are no crude oil reserves, though a small amount of coal is found in Scania, which also has vast peat deposits.
Over 75% of the electricity generation currently comes from hydro and nuclear power (with nuclear power plants at Forsmark, Oskarshamn and Ringhals). Sweden’s nuclear reactors are expected to be all decommissioned by 2045. A gas pipeline connects the country to Denmark.
Sweden is one of the biggest investors in research and development (over 3% of the GDP) and is known for its strong propensity for international trade. In the world of high-end technology, Ericsson is active in the development of 5G networks.
The most important sectors are metalworking, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, electronics and telecommunications. Facebook will double the size of its data centre in Luleå. The automobile industry, though marked by a recent crisis in historic brands, is still source of a significant export levels. Timber is still an important traditional industry. There are many sawmills and plants producing cellulose, wood pulp and paper. Swedish is the world’s largest furniture retailer (IKEA). The main oil refineries can be found at Nynäshamn, Lysekil (which is expanding) and Gothenburg.
An important Swedish chemical product is explosives; other segments of the chemical industry are also well developed. Hydroelectric power has encouraged the development of the electro-metallurgical industry (zinc, silver, iron, steel and aluminium). Other metals produced include copper, lead and magnesium. A typical Swedish activity is the production of sulfur matches. Within the textile industry, artificial and synthetic fibres are produced. Rubber is used for making footwear and tyres. Other industries include tanning, glassmaking, tobacco, sugar and beer.
|coal, total||535||1000 t||2020|
|iron ore||35 000||1000 t||2020|
|- hydro||64 465.83||M kWh||2019|
|- nuclear||64 429||M kWh||2019|
|- hydro||16 332||1000 kW||2019|
|- other renew.||15 310||1000 kW||2019|
|total net generation||165 028.18||M kWh||2019|
|total installed capacity||41 198||1000 kW||2018|
|coke, metall.||1 105||1000 t||2019|
|air conditioners||1 207 795||no.||2018|
|camcorders||1 019 315||no.||2018|
|petrol||5 836||1000 t||2014|
|artificial yarn||0.034||1000 t||2014|
|caustic soda||130.6||1000 t||2016|
|carpets||2 237||1000 m²||2018|
|cotton fabrics||0.28||M m²||2016|
|beer of barley||482||1000 t||2018|
|fish, frozen||43.7||1000 t||2018|
|chemical pulp||8 398||1000 t||2019|
|chemi-mechanical pulp||11 591||1000 t||2019|
|cement||3 300||1000 t||2018|
|chemicals production||7 852.879||M US$||2018|
|food, beverages and tobacco production||5 516.63||M US$||2018|
After a three-year period of moderate deficit, the foreign trade balance has returned to profit since 2019.
Main exports (M US$ - 2017) machinery 23 473, vehicles and parts thereof 11 802, electric and electronic equipment 9 899, iron and steel 9 098, cars 8 990, paper and paperboard 8 575, petroleum products 7 979, pharmaceuticals 7 779, plastics 5 350, telecommunications equipment 4 576, timber 4 063, fish 4 000, technical and electro-medical appliances 3 866, chemicals 3 856, furniture and accessories 2 675, iron ores 2 277, wood pulp 2 263, apparel and accessories 1 750, aluminium 1 689, refined copper 1 527 gold and precious stones1 237, tools and implements 1 153, electric energy 1 117, rubber articles 1 006, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages 1 002, dyes 960, metal ores 772, food preparations 696, miscellaneous manufactured articles 670
Finance and banking.
The banking system is controlled by the Riksbank.
The Stockholm Stock Exchange is part of the Nasdaq, Inc. multinational financial services corporation.
|manufactures||73.112||% of goods exports||2018|
|fuels||7.434||% of goods exports||2018|
|Norway||16 402||M US$||2020|
|Germany||16 189||M US$||2020|
|Germany||27 306||M US$||2020|
|Netherlands||14 640||M US$||2020|
Tourism. The main attractions are the lakes, the forests and the “midnight sun” and the northern lights in areas north of the Arctic Circle, as well as the city of Stockholm.
Most tourists come from the other Scandinavian countries and Germany.
|Expenditures||14 367||M US$||2019|
|Number of arrivals||7 616 000||units||2019|
The rail and road networks are well developed. In 2000 the new road and rail bridge over the Øresund was opened, connecting Denmark to Sweden. Air transport is also well established.
Social and welfare
Education, culture & research.
Primary education (for nine years from the age of 6 or 7) is compulsory and free.
Secondary school follows (for three years) and there are several universities and institutions of higher education.
Social security and health.
Sweden has one of the most advanced welfare systems, financed by high levels of taxation. Even if services are now being reduced, all residents have guaranteed healthcare, health and accident insurance, family benefit and pensions. Unemployment benefit is mostly paid by the trade unions.
|Expected years of schooling||19.691||years||2018|
|Students, primary level||893 495||units||2018|
|Students, secondary level||934 541||units||2018|
|Social protection spending||38.652||% of total expenses||2019|
|Social protection spending||25.452||% of GDP||2019|
|Hospital beds||2.14||per 1000 pop.||2018|
|Physicians||4.27||per 1000 pop.||2017|
|HIV||0.2||% of adults||2016|
|Museums, visitors||19 099 490||units||2019|
|Research and development spending||3.4||% of GDP||2019|
|Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking||100||%||2019|
|Access to electricity||100||%||2019|