Photos of Sweden



A military power during the 17th century, Sweden has not participated in any war for two centuries. An armed neutrality was preserved in both World Wars. Since then, Sweden has pursued a successful economic formula consisting of a capitalist system intermixed with substantial welfare elements. Sweden joined the EU in 1995, but the public rejected the introduction of the euro in a 2003 referendum. The share of Sweden’s population born abroad increased from 11.3% in 2000 to 19.1% in 2018.


Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, Kattegat, and Skagerrak, between Finland and Norway

Geographic coordinates

62 00 N, 15 00 E


total: 450,295 sq km

land: 410,335 sq km

water: 39,960 sq km

country comparison to the world: 58

Area - comparative

almost three times the size of Georgia; slightly larger than California

Land boundaries

total: 2,211 km

border countries (2): Finland 545 km, Norway 1666 km


3,218 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm (adjustments made to return a portion of straits to high seas)

exclusive economic zone: agreed boundaries or midlines

continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation


temperate in south with cold, cloudy winters and cool, partly cloudy summers; subarctic in north


mostly flat or gently rolling lowlands; mountains in west


mean elevation: 320 m

lowest point: reclaimed bay of Lake Hammarsjon, near Kristianstad -2.4 m

highest point: Kebnekaise South 2,100 m

Natural resources

iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, gold, silver, tungsten, uranium, arsenic, feldspar, timber, hydropower

Land use

agricultural land: 7.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 6.4% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 1.1% (2018 est.)

forest: 68.7% (2018 est.)

other: 23.8% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

1,640 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

most Swedes live in the south where the climate is milder and there is better connectivity to mainland Europe; population clusters are found all along the Baltic coast in the east; the interior areas of the north remain sparsely populated

Natural hazards

ice floes in the surrounding waters, especially in the Gulf of Bothnia, can interfere with maritime traffic

Geography - note

strategic location along Danish Straits linking Baltic and North Seas; Sweden has almost 100,000 lakes, the largest of which, Vanern, is the third largest in Europe

People and Society


noun: Swede(s)

adjective: Swedish

Ethnic groups

Swedish 80.9%, Syrian 1.8%, Finnish 1.4%, Iraqi 1.4%, other 14.5%

(2018 est.)

note: data represent the population by country of birth; the indigenous Sami people are estimated to number between 20,000 and 40,000


Swedish (official)

note: Finnish, Sami, Romani, Yiddish, and Meankieli are official minority languages


Church of Sweden (Lutheran) 60.2%, other (includes Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist) 8.5%, none or unspecified 31.3% (2017 est.)

note: estimates reflect registered members of faith communities eligible for state funding (not all religions are state-funded and not all people who identify with a particular religion are registered members); an estimated 57.7% of Sweden's population were members of the Church of Sweden in 2018

Age structure

0-14 years: 17.71% (male 928,413/female 878,028)

15-24 years: 10.8% (male 569,082/female 532,492)

25-54 years: 39.01% (male 2,016,991/female 1,962,617)

55-64 years: 11.9% (male 610,521/female 603,795)

65 years and over: 20.59% (male 974,410/female 1,126,142) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 61.2

youth dependency ratio: 28.4

elderly dependency ratio: 32.8

potential support ratio: 3.1 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 41.1 years

male: 40.1 years

female: 42.1 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 47

Birth rate

11.93 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 160

Death rate

9.39 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 49

Net migration rate

4.87 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 22

Population distribution

most Swedes live in the south where the climate is milder and there is better connectivity to mainland Europe; population clusters are found all along the Baltic coast in the east; the interior areas of the north remain sparsely populated


urban population: 88% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 1.05% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas - population

1.657 million STOCKHOLM (capital) (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.07 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

29.3 years (2015 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

4 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 175

Infant mortality rate

total: 2.45 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 2.76 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 2.13 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 218

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 82.6 years

male: 80.61 years

female: 84.7 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 18

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

3.98 physicians/1,000 population (2016)

Hospital bed density

2.2 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 20 years

male: 19 years

female: 21 years (2018)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 16.8%

male: 18%

female: 15.5% (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 81


Country name

conventional long form: Kingdom of Sweden

conventional short form: Sweden

local long form: Konungariket Sverige

local short form: Sverige

etymology: name ultimately derives from the North Germanic Svear tribe, which inhabited central Sweden and is first mentioned in the first centuries A.D.

Government type

parliamentary constitutional monarchy


name: Stockholm

geographic coordinates: 59 20 N, 18 03 E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

etymology: "stock" and "holm" literally mean "log" and "islet" in Swedish, but there is no consensus as to what the words refer to

Administrative divisions

21 counties (lan, singular and plural); Blekinge, Dalarna, Gavleborg, Gotland, Halland, Jamtland, Jonkoping, Kalmar, Kronoberg, Norrbotten, Orebro, Ostergotland, Skane, Sodermanland, Stockholm, Uppsala, Varmland, Vasterbotten, Vasternorrland, Vastmanland, Vastra Gotaland


6 June 1523 (Gustav VASA elected king of Sweden, marking the abolishment of the Kalmar Union between Denmark, Norway, and Sweden)

National holiday

National Day, 6 June (1983); note - from 1916 to 1982 this date was celebrated as Swedish Flag Day


history: Sweden has four fundamental laws which together make up the Constitution: The Instrument of Government (several previous; latest 1974); The Act of Succession (enacted 1810; changed in 1937 and 1980); The Freedom of the Press Act (many previous; latest in 1949); The Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression (adopted 1991)

amendments: proposed by Parliament; passage requires simple majority vote in two consecutive parliamentary terms with an intervening general election; passage also requires approval by simple majority vote in a referendum if Parliament approves a motion for a referendum by one third of its members; The Instrument of Government - amended several times, last in 2018; The Act of Succession - changed in 1937, 1980; The Freedom of the Press Act - amended several times, last in 2019; The Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression - amended several times, last in 2018

Legal system

civil law system influenced by Roman-Germanic law and customary law

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Sweden; in the case of a child born out of wedlock, the mother must be a citizen of Sweden and the father unknown

dual citizenship recognized: no, unless the other citizenship was acquired involuntarily

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: King CARL XVI GUSTAF (since 15 September 1973); Heir Apparent Princess VICTORIA Ingrid Alice Desiree (daughter of the monarch, born 14 July 1977)

head of government: Prime Minister Stefan LOFVEN (since 3 October 2014); Deputy Prime Minister Isabella LOVIN (since 25 May 2016); note - Prime Minister Stefan LOFVEN was ousted in a no-confidence vote on 25 September 2018 and headed a caretaker government until the next government was formed; LOFVEN was reelected as Prime Minister and took office on 21 January 2019 

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually becomes the prime minister

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Parliament or Riksdag (349 seats; 310 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by closed, party-list proportional representation vote and 39 members in "at-large" seats directly elected by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 9 September 2018 (next to be held in 2022)

election results: percent of vote by party - SAP 28.3%, M 19.8%, SD 17.5%, C 8.6%, V 8%, KD 6.3%, L 5.5%, MP 4.4%, other 1.6%; seats by party - SAP 100, M 70, SD 62, C 31, V 28, KD 22, L 20, MP 16; composition - men 188, women 161, percent of women 46.1%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court of Sweden (consists of 16 justices, including the court chairman); Supreme Administrative Court (consists of 18 justices, including the court president)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court and Supreme Administrative Court justices nominated by the Judges Proposal Board, a 9-member nominating body consisting of high-level judges, prosecutors, and members of Parliament; justices appointed by the Government; following a probationary period, justices' appointments are permanent

subordinate courts: first instance, appellate, general, and administrative courts; specialized courts that handle cases such as land and environment, immigration, labor, markets, and patents

Political parties and leaders

Center Party (Centerpartiet) or C [Annie LOOF]
Christian Democrats (Kristdemokraterna) or KD [Ebba Busch THOR]
Green Party (Miljopartiet de Grona) or MP [Isabella LOVIN and Per BOLUND]
Left Party (Vansterpartiet) or V [Jonas SJOSTEDT]
Liberal Party (Liberalerna) or L [Jan BJORKLUND]
Moderate Party (Moderaterna) or M [Ulf KRISTERSSON]
Swedish Social Democratic Party (Socialdemokraterna) or SAP [Stefan LOFVEN]
Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna) or SD [Jimmie AKESSON]

International organization participation

ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council, Australia Group, BIS, CBSS, CD, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-9, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, NC, NEA, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMISS, UNMOGIP, UNRWA, UN Security Council (temporary), UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Karin Ulrika OLOFSDOTTER (since 17 September 2017)

chancery: The House of Sweden, 2900 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

telephone: [1] (202) 536-1500

FAX: [1] (202) 536-1501

consulate(s) general: New York, San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Kenneth A. HOWERY (since 10 October 2019) 

telephone: [46] (08) 783 53 00

embassy: Dag Hammarskjolds Vag 31, SE-11589 Stockholm

mailing address: American Embassy Stockholm, US Department of State, 5750 Stockholm Place, Washington, DC 20521-5750

FAX: [46] (08) 661 19 64

Flag description

blue with a golden yellow cross extending to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog (Danish flag); the colors reflect those of the Swedish coat of arms - three gold crowns on a blue field

National symbol(s)

three crowns, lion; national colors: blue, yellow

National anthem

name: "Du Gamla, Du Fria" (Thou Ancient, Thou Free)

lyrics/music: Richard DYBECK/traditional

note: in use since 1844; also known as "Sang till Norden" (Song of the North), is based on a Swedish folk tune; it has never been officially adopted by the government; "Kungssangen" (The King's Song) serves as the royal anthem and is played in the presence of the royal family and during certain state ceremonies


Economic overview

Sweden’s small, open, and competitive economy has been thriving and Sweden has achieved an enviable standard of living with its combination of free-market capitalism and extensive welfare benefits. Sweden remains outside the euro zone largely out of concern that joining the European Economic and Monetary Union would diminish the country’s sovereignty over its welfare system.


Timber, hydropower, and iron ore constitute the resource base of a manufacturing economy that relies heavily on foreign trade. Exports, including engines and other machines, motor vehicles, and telecommunications equipment, account for more than 44% of GDP. Sweden enjoys a current account surplus of about 5% of GDP, which is one of the highest margins in Europe.


GDP grew an estimated 3.3% in 2016 and 2017 driven largely by investment in the construction sector. Swedish economists expect economic growth to ease slightly in the coming years as this investment subsides. Global economic growth boosted exports of Swedish manufactures further, helping drive domestic economic growth in 2017. The Central Bank is keeping an eye on deflationary pressures and bank observers expect it to maintain an expansionary monetary policy in 2018. Swedish prices and wages have grown only slightly over the past few years, helping to support the country’s competitiveness.


In the short and medium term, Sweden’s economic challenges include providing affordable housing and successfully integrating migrants into the labor market.

Real GDP growth rate

1.29% (2019 est.)

2.06% (2018 est.)

2.82% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 163

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.7% (2019 est.)

1.9% (2018 est.)

1.7% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 98

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: AAA (2004)

Moody's rating: Aaa (2002)

Standard & Poors rating: AAA (2004)

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$547.595 billion (2019 est.)

$540.776 billion (2018 est.)

$530.433 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 39

GDP (official exchange rate)

$531.35 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$53,240 (2019 est.)

$53,146 (2018 est.)

$52,739 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 26

Gross national saving

29.4% of GDP (2019 est.)

28.5% of GDP (2018 est.)

28.4% of GDP (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 39

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.6% (2017 est.)

industry: 33% (2017 est.)

services: 65.4% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 44.1% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 26% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 24.9% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.8% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 45.3% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -41.1% (2017 est.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores

Overall score: 82 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 93.1 (2020)

Trading score: 98 (2020)

Enforcement score: 67.6 (2020)

Agricultural products

wheat, milk, sugar beet, barley, potatoes, oats, rapeseed, pork, rye, triticale


iron and steel, precision equipment (bearings, radio and telephone parts, armaments), wood pulp and paper products, processed foods, motor vehicles

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 2%

industry: 12%

services: 86% (2014 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 3.4%

highest 10%: 24% (2012)


revenues: 271.2 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 264.4 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

40.8% of GDP (2017 est.)

42.3% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: data cover general government debt and include debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intragovernmental debt; intragovernmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions

country comparison to the world: 124

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$22.339 billion (2019 est.)

$13.902 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 16


$302.65 billion (2019 est.)

$291.846 billion (2018 est.)

$279.461 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 25

Exports - partners

Germany 10%, Norway 9%, United States 8%, Denmark 7%, Finland 6%, United Kingdom 5%, Netherlands 5%, China 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

cars and vehicle parts, packaged medicines, refined petroleum, broadcasting equipment, lumber (2019)


$276.622 billion (2019 est.)

$273.125 billion (2018 est.)

$262.597 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 24

Imports - partners

Germany 18%, Netherlands 9%, Denmark 7%, Norway 7%, China 6%, Finland 5%, Belgium 5%, Poland 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

cars and vehicle parts, crude petroleum, refined petroleum, broadcasting equipment, computers (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$62.22 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$59.39 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 36

Debt - external

$911.317 billion (2019 est.)

$1,012,171,000,000 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 18

Exchange rates

Swedish kronor (SEK) per US dollar -

8.49085 (2020 est.)

9.52915 (2019 est.)

9.01895 (2018 est.)

8.4335 (2014 est.)

6.8612 (2013 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 1,941,360

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 19.18 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 56

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 12,785,850

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 126.32 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 73

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: highly developed telecommunications infrastructure; ranked among leading countries for fixed-line, mobile-cellular, Internet, and broadband penetration; best developed LTE infrastructures in the region; first in the world to deliver 5G services (2020)

domestic: fixed-line 19 per 100 and mobile-cellular 126 per 100; coaxial and multiconductor cables carry most of the voice traffic; parallel microwave radio relay systems carry some additional telephone channels (2019)

international: country code - 46; landing points for Botina, SFL, SFS-4, Baltic Sea Submarine Cable, Eastern Light, Sweden-Latvia, BCS North-Phase1, EE-S1, LV-SE1, BCS East-West Interlink, NordBalt, Baltica, Denmark-Sweden-15,-17,-18, Scandinavian Ring -North,-South, IP-Only Denmark-Sweden, Donica North, Kattegate-1,-2, Energinet Laeso-Varberg and GC2 submarine cables providing links to other Nordic countries and Europe; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean), 1 Eutelsat, and 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions); note - Sweden shares the Inmarsat earth station with the other Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Norway) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

Broadcast media

publicly owned TV broadcaster operates 2 terrestrial networks plus regional stations; multiple privately owned TV broadcasters operating nationally, regionally, and locally; about 50 local TV stations; widespread access to pan-Nordic and international broadcasters through multi-channel cable and satellite TV; publicly owned radio broadcaster operates 3 national stations and a network of 25 regional channels; roughly 100 privately owned local radio stations with some consolidating into near national networks; an estimated 900 community and neighborhood radio stations broadcast intermittently

Internet users

total: 9,251,773

percent of population: 92.14% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 56

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 3,973,622

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 40 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 34


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 11 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 316

Airports - with paved runways

total: 149 (2013)

over 3,047 m: 3 (2013)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 12 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 75 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 22 (2013)

under 914 m: 37 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 82 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 5 (2013)

under 914 m: 77 (2013)


2 (2013)


1626 km gas (2013)


total: 14,127 km (2016)

standard gauge: 14,062 km 1.435-m gauge (12,322 km electrified) (2016)

narrow gauge: 65 km 0.891-m gauge (65 km electrified) (2016)

country comparison to the world: 20


total: 573,134 km (includes 2,050 km of expressways) (2016)

paved: 140,100 km (2016)

unpaved: 433,034 km (2016)

note: includes 98,500 km of state roads, 433,034 km of private roads, and 41,600 km of municipal roads

country comparison to the world: 13

Merchant marine

total: 368

by type: general cargo 49, oil tanker 20, other 299 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 50

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Brofjorden, Goteborg, Helsingborg, Karlshamn, Lulea, Malmo, Stockholm, Trelleborg, Visby

LNG terminal(s) (import): Brunnsviksholme, Lysekil

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Swedish Armed Forces (Forsvarsmakten): Army, Navy, Air Force; Home Guard (2021)

Military expenditures

1.1% of GDP (2020 est.)

1.1% of GDP (2019)

1% of GDP (2018)

1% of GDP (2017)

1.1% of GDP (2016)

country comparison to the world: 124

Military and security service personnel strengths

information on the size of the Swedish Armed Forces (Forsvarsmakten) varies; approximately 15,000 active duty troops (6,000 Army; 3,000 Navy; 3,000 Air Force; 3,000 other, including staff, logistics, support, medical, cyber, intelligence, etc); 22,000 Home Guard (2020)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the inventory of the Swedish Armed Forces is comprised of domestically-produced and imported Western weapons systems; since 2010, the US is the leading supplier of military hardware to Sweden, followed by France and Germany; Sweden's defense industry is capable of producing a range of air, land, and naval systems (2020)

Military deployments

approximately 450 Mali (EUTM, MINUSMA, Task Force Takuba) (Jan 2021)

Military service age and obligation

18-47 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; service obligation: 7.5 months (Army), 7-15 months (Navy), 8-12 months (Air Force); after completing initial service, soldiers have a reserve commitment until age 47; compulsory military service, abolished in 2010, was reinstated in January 2018; conscription is selective, includes both female and male (age 18), and requires 9-12 months of service (2019)


Terrorist group(s)

Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) (2019)

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 113,418 (Syria), 27,933 (Eritrea), 30,546 (Afghanistan), 17,593 (Somalia), 12,460 (Iraq), 7,408 (Iran) (2019)

stateless persons: 30,305 (2019); note - the majority of stateless people are from the Middle East and Somalia