sweden

Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. Sweden borders Norway and Finland, and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Øresund.

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Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. Sweden borders Norway and Finland, and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Øresund.

At 450,295 square kilometres (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the third largest country in the European Union by area, with a total population of about 9.5 million. Sweden has a low population density of 21 inhabitants per square kilometre (54 /sq mi) with the population mostly concentrated to the southern half of the country. About 85% of the population live in urban areas. Sweden's capital city is Stockholm, which is also the largest city. Since the early 19th century Sweden has been at peace and has avoided war.

Today, Sweden is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy form of government and a highly developed economy. Sweden has the world's eighth highest per capita income. In 2011, it ranked fourth in the world in The Economist's Democracy Index and tenth in the United Nations' Human Development Index (third on the inequality-adjusted HDI). In 2010, the World Economic Forum ranked Sweden as the second most competitive country in the world, after Switzerland. According to the UN, it has the third lowest infant mortality rate in the world. In 2010, Sweden also had one of the lowest Gini coefficients of all developed countries (0.25), making Sweden one of the world's most equal countries in terms of income. Sweden's wealth, however, is distributed much less equally than its income, with a wealth Gini coefficient of 0.85, which is higher than the European average of 0.8.

some cities

experiences (4)

have you spent time in sweden? share your experiences

6

sweden - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/13/13.

What brought you to Sweden? Where were you before?

My parents are Swedish and we spoke swedish at home, growing up, but I had never actually lived in Sweden. I lived in the American Midwest and read about a Master's program in Uppsala that was exactly what I wanted to do. I applied and got accepted, which was lucky because my (pretty cushy) job at a big computer company ended when they ran out of money.

What are your impressions and thoughts about Uppsala compared to other cities you've lived in?

It is the best place for me that I've found. I live next door to a rich and wonderful forest, yet there is a bus that quickly takes me into town every 10 minutes. The city is youthful with lots of students, has lots of family activities, and is located very near Stockholm and Arlanda Airport. It's the best of all worlds, in my opinion.

How does Uppsala compare to other cities in Sweden?

Uppsala is Sweden's 4th biggest city, but it's much smaller than #3. It has a split personality in many ways — small town or big city, old university town or modern metal & glass? This duality makes the local politics pretty conflicted, which is a pity. On the other hand, you can probably find...

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5

sweden - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 09/28/13.

I lived in Sweden for a little over a year. My husband and I were really struggling financially in San Diego; I was a student and working part-time and we were staying at my mother's. He was an immigrant and we didn't have the income to file for his papers. My mother's promises to help out with the immigration process never came into fruition and the stress and frustration were really getting to us, so we decided to move to Sweden. We figured it would be easier to live there; we would have a safety net from the government, and I'd be able to continue school for free. It didn't quite work out as planned.

As in all walks of life, people come with different personalities, some are more outgoing than others etc. Generally, Swedes tend to be a lot more reserved when it comes to interacting with others outside. People generally tend to stare straight ahead as if you're not walking towards them, unlike what I was used to in the States, when you passed someone you would usually acknowledge them with a nod, or a hello. I knew I'd stepped back on American soil when I heard so much more conversation around me--coffee baristas participating in small talk with patrons. It's always a welcome...

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4

sweden - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 30s

posted by anonymous on 10/15/13.

What brought you to Sweden?

Love and universal health care that actually works. Before that I loved all over the US.

Describe the city you live in in Sweden and your impressions of it.

I live in Sweden's second largest city Malmö. Its an interesting mix of old and new buildings that some find unpleasant. It is the most diverse city in Sweden with the country's largest population of Muslims. Public transportation is a dream come true and the city is littered with public parks. There is good nightlife concentrated in a couple of different squares. There is very diverse food and oddly enough, a place called The American Store that carries anything you could possibly want from home.

How does the city you live in compare to other cities in Sweden?

Malmö is pretty typical as Swedish cities go. What sets is apart unfortunately is the litter. Malmö is the only city I have ever seen in Sweden where people litter so much. Swedes generally care a great deal about nature and littering is frowned upon. I don’t know why that’s different here. I came here for work, otherwise I would never have chosen to live here. Also, the locals speak a horrible dialect called Skånska which is...

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1

sweden - anonymous' thoughts after months there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/28/13.

I spent 10 months in Sweden as part of an European exchange program. My course offered a chance for students who do well in their first year to spend their third year abroad, and having never been out of my home country (the UK), it made me try hard in my first year to make sure I was offered a chance to join the exchange program.

I chose Sweden because it was a country I'd always been interested in, and somewhere I didn't think I'd get the chance to visit (through holiday, work etc.) otherwise. I'm also a gamer and had knew people from Sweden for several years who encouraged me to chose Sweden.

I imagine my experiences will be quite different to anyone who went abroad for work rather than study, so I can't really comment on work, but I highly encourage anyone thinking of studying in Sweden to do so.

I lived in Lund, which is one of the two main university towns in Sweden (along with Uppsala). I chose to join a 'mentor group' where a few people who have been at the university for a few years host a group of about 15-20 new students from abroad, to show them around the city, organise social events and introduce them to life in Sweden.

This was great for me as I very quickly...

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demographics

population

9,103,788 (July 2012 est.)

ethnic groups

indigenous population: Swedes with Finnish and Sami minorities; foreign-born or first-generation immigrants: Finns, Yugoslavs, Danes, Norwegians, Greeks, Turks

languages

Swedish (official), small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities

religions

Lutheran 87%, other (includes Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist) 13%

age structure

0-14: 0-14 years: 15.4% (male 722,811/ female 680,665)

15-64: 15-64 years: 64.4% (male 2,967,938/ female 2,897,454)

65+: 65 years and over: 20.2% (male 821,647/ female 1,013,273) (2012 est.)

urbanization

85% of total population (2010)

life expectancy

81.18 years

obesity rate

12% (2009)

literacy rate

99%

average years of education

16 years

economics

cost of living

7/10 (medium-high)

economic overview

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...

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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 highly skilled labor force. In September 2003, Swedish voters turned down entry into the euro system concerned about the impact on the economy and sovereignty. Timber, hydropower, and iron ore constitute the resource base of an economy heavily oriented toward foreign trade. Privately owned firms account for vast majority of industrial output, of which the engineering sector accounts for about 50% of output and exports. Agriculture accounts for little more than 1% of GDP and of employment. Until 2008, Sweden was in the midst of a sustained economic upswing, boosted by increased domestic demand and strong exports. This and robust finances 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. Despite strong finances and underlying fundamentals, the Swedish economy slid into recession in the third quarter of 2008 and growth continued downward in 2009 as deteriorating global conditions reduced export demand and consumption. Strong exports of commodities and a return to profitability by Sweden's banking sector drove the strong rebound in 2010, which continued in 2011, and the government is proposing stimulus measures in the 2012 budget to curb the effects of a global economic slowdown and boost employment and growth.

major industries

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

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

gdp per capita

$40,700 (2011 est.)

gdp growth rate

4% (2011 est.)

gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 1.8% industry: 27.3% services: 70.9% (2011 est.)

unemployment rate

7.5% (2011 est.)

population below poverty line

NA%

gini index

23 (2005) country comparison to the world: 136 25 (1992)