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Survey on elected representatives in municipalities and regions 2019

Women, young people and foreign born persons are underrepresented in top positions in Sweden’s municipalities

Statistical news from Statistics Sweden and Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions 2020-04-20 9.30

Women hold one third of all municipal executive board chair positions in Sweden and there is also a gender gap in other chair positions in the municipalities. Young people and foreign born persons continue to be underrepresented and an increasingly large share of elected representatives are aged 65 years and older, according to Statistics Sweden’s survey on elected representatives in municipalities and regions in 2019, published today.

In 2019, there were around 60 800 representative positions in the municipalities, which is slightly more than in 2015. The number of representative positions in regions also increased, and amounted to around 7 600.

Fewer women in top positions in municipalities

Women accounted for 43 percent of all elected representatives and among representatives in municipal councils, while they account for 50 percent of Sweden’s population. In committee and executive board positions, this pattern emerges even more clearly; thirty-six percent of chair positions in municipal committees and boards were held by women in 2019. Fewer still, 32 percent, of chairpersons in municipal executive boards were women, which is a decline of 4 percentage points compared with 2015. A measure of gender balance usually refers to a distribution between men and women that lies within the 40-60 percent interval.

Young people and foreign born persons continue to be underrepresented among elected representatives

Young people, aged 18–29 years, were underrepresented among elected representatives compared with the population at large, accounting for 7 percent of municipal politicians in 2019. This was 12 percentage points less than their total share in the population.

In 2019, foreign born persons were also underrepresented among elected representatives. Around 21 percent of the population over 18 years are born in a country other than Sweden. The corresponding share among elected representatives in municipalities was 10 percent, which is a slight increase compared with 2015.


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