Facts about Sweden

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SwedenA military power during the 17th century, Sweden has not participated in any war in almost two centuries. An armed neutrality was preserved in both World Wars. Sweden's long-successful economic formula of a capitalist system interlarded with substantial welfare elements was challenged in the 1990s by high unemployment and in 2000-02 by the global economic downturn, but fiscal discipline over the past several years has allowed the country to weather economic vagaries. Sweden joined the EU in 1995, but the public rejected the introduction of the euro in a 2003 referendum.

Geography of Sweden

Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, Kattegat, and Skagerrak, between Finland and Norway
62 00 N, 15 00 E
total: 449,964 sq km
water: 39,030 sq km
land: 410,934 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly larger than California
Land boundaries:
total: 2,205 km
border countries: Finland 586 km, Norway 1,619 km
3,218 km
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: agreed boundaries or midlines
territorial sea: 12 NM (adjustments made to return a portion of straits to high seas)
temperate in south with cold, cloudy winters and cool, partly cloudy summers; subarctic in north
mostly flat or gently rolling lowlands; mountains in west
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
highest point: Kebnekaise 2,111 m
Natural resources:
zinc, iron ore, lead, copper, silver, timber, uranium, hydropower
Natural hazards:
ice floes in the surrounding waters, especially in the Gulf of Bothnia, can interfere with maritime traffic
Environment current issues:
acid rain damage to soils and lakes; pollution of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea
Geography - note:
strategic location along Danish Straits linking Baltic and North Seas

Population of Sweden

9,045,389 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 16.7% (male 775,433/female 732,773)
15-64 years: 65.7% (male 3,001,928/female 2,918,242)
65 years and over: 17.6% (male 689,756/female 898,464)
Median age:
40.9 years
Growth rate:
Infant mortality:
2.76 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 80.51 years
male: 78.29 years
female: 82.87 years
Fertility rate:
1.66 children born/woman
noun: Swede(s)
adjective: Swedish
Ethnic groups:
indigenous population: Swedes and Finnish and Sami minorities; foreign-born or first-generation immigrants: Finns, Yugoslavs, Danes, Norwegians, Greeks, Turks
Lutheran 87%, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist
note: small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%


Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Sweden
local short form: Sverige
local long form: Konungariket Sverige
Government type:
constitutional monarchy
Administrative divisions:
21 counties (lan, singular and plural); Blekinge, Dalarnas, Gavleborgs, Gotlands, Hallands, Jamtlands, Jonkopings, Kalmar, Kronobergs, Norrbottens, Orebro, Ostergotlands, Skane, Sodermanlands, Stockholms, Uppsala, Varmlands, Vasterbottens, Vasternorrlands, Vastmanlands, Vastra Gotalands
6 June 1523 (Gustav VASA elected king)
National holiday:
Flag Day, 6 June
1 January 1975
Legal system:
civil law system influenced by customary law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: King CARL XVI GUSTAF (since 19 September 1973); Heir Apparent Princess VICTORIA Ingrid Alice Desiree, daughter of the monarch (born 14 July 1977)
head of government: Prime Minister Fredrik REINFELDT (since 5 October 2006)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; following legislative elections, the prime minister is elected by the.
Legislative branch:
unicameral Parliament or Riksdag (349 seats; members are elected by popular vote on a proportional representation basis to serve four-year terms)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Hogsta Domstolen (judges are appointed by the prime minister and the cabinet)


Aided by peace and neutrality for the whole of the 20th century, Sweden has achieved an enviable standard of living under a mixed system of high-tech capitalism and extensive welfare benefits. It has a modern distribution system, excellent internal and external communications, and a skilled labor force. Timber, hydropower, and iron ore constitute the resource base of an economy heavily oriented toward foreign trade. Privately owned firms account for about 90% of industrial output, of which the engineering sector accounts for 50% of output and exports. Agriculture accounts for only 1% of GDP and 2% of employment. Sweden is in the midst of a sustained economic upswing, boosted by increased domestic demand and strong exports. This and robust finances have offered the center-right government considerable scope to implement its reform program aimed at increasing employment, reducing welfare dependence, and streamlining the state's role in the economy. The government plans to sell $31 billion in state assets during the next three years to further stimulate growth and raise revenue to pay down the federal debt. In September 2003, Swedish voters turned down entry into the euro system concerned about the impact on the economy and sovereignty.

$338.5 billion (2007 est.)
GDP growth rate:
GDP per capita:
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 1.1%
industry: 28.2%
services: 70.7%
Inflation rate:
Labor force:
4.49 million
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 2%, industry 24%, services 74%
revenues: $210.5 billion
expenditures: $205.9 billion
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 4%
hydro: 50.8%
other: 2.3%
nuclear: 43%
iron and steel, precision equipment (bearings, radio and telephone parts, armaments), wood pulp and paper products, processed foods, motor vehicles, tourism
barley, wheat, sugar beets; meat, milk
machinery 35%, motor vehicles, paper products, pulp and wood, iron and steel products, chemicals
Export partners:
US 10.4%, Germany 10.2%, Denmark 7.6%, Norway 7.1%, UK 6.6%, Finland 6.1%, Belgium 4.8%, France 4.4%, Netherlands 4.4% 
machinery, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, motor vehicles, iron and steel; foodstuffs, clothing
Import partners:
Germany 19.5%, Denmark 10.2%, Netherlands 7.4%, UK 7.1%, Norway 6.7%, Finland 6.5%, France 5%, Belgium 4.3% 
Swedish krona (SEK)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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