The largest Scandinavian country by both population and area, Sweden has one of the world’s most extensive welfare systems and is among the leading proponents of equal rights for women.
Geography: Heavily forested, with many lakes. Northern plateau extends beyond the Arctic Circle. Southern lowlands are widely cultivated.
Climate: Southern coasts warmed by Gulf Stream. Northern areas have more extreme continental climate.
People and Society: The nuclear family forms the basis f society, but the marriage rate is one of the lowest in the world, and cohabitation is now common. The model welfare system is paid for by a high tax burden. Women are well represented at all levels. A minority of 20,000 Sámi lives in the far north. Most industries and the bulk of population are based in and around the southern cities. An EU member since 1995, Sweden has voted not to join the euro.
The Economy: Companies of global importance, including Volvo, Saab, SFK, Ericsson. Highly developed infrastructure. Up-to-date technology. Skilled workforce.
Insight: Sweden has maintained a position of armed neutrality since 1815
Official Name: Kingdom of Sweden
Date of Formation: 1523
Population: 9.25 million
Total Area: 173,731 sq. miles (449,964 sq. km)
Density: 58 people per sq. mile
Languages: Swedish*, Finnish, Sámi
Religions: Evangelical Lutheran 82%, other 13%, Roman Catholic 2%, Muslim 2%, Orthodox Christian 1%
Ethnic Mix: Swedish 86%, recent immigrant 12%, Finnish and Sámi 2%
Government: Parliamentary system
Currency: Swedish krona = 100 öre