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Facts on the Survey of Elected Representatives in Municipalities and County Councils

The Survey of Elected Representatives in Municipalities and County Councils was carried out by Statistics Sweden in 2003 on behalf of the government and The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions.

The purpose of the survey is to provide a description of elected representatives based on a number of background variables, which subsequently, among other things, may serve as a basis in assessing the social representativeness of the elected officials.

Similar studies have been carried out by the Swedish Association of Local Authorities since 1971. Statistics Sweden's survey differs from previous surveys in that the civic registration number of the elected representatives is recorded. This makes it feasible to use register statistics for a more thorough analysis of the elected representatives. In addition, unlike previous studies, information on elected representatives in the county councils is also collected.

Presentation and implementation of the survey

On 22 May 2003, Statistics Sweden was commissioned by the government to implement a survey of elected representatives in municipalities and county councils. At the end of May, Statistics Sweden sent out a circular to all municipalities and county councils requesting information on elected representatives. All elected representatives, not only members of the assemblies were therefore included. Information such as name, civic registration number, remuneration, party affiliation, membership and position in committees and/or boards was requested. By mid‑August, 80 per cent the municipalities and 70 per cent of the county councils had submitted the requested information. The last of the municipalities submitted their data at the beginning of November. All municipalities and county councils have sent in the requested information on elected representatives. The survey thus has no non‑response results in terms of municipalities or county councils.

By using information from the registers at Statistics Sweden, different background variables with respect to elected representatives can be produced. Different forms of checking or verification of the material were performed in conjunction with the treatment of the submitted information.


In the survey, elected representatives are defined based on the definition found within municipal law. Chapter 4, Section 1 of the Local Government Act states that elected representatives refer to: ”members and alternates of the decision‑making assembly, the federation executive committee or other committee, the drafting committees of the decision‑making assemblies and auditors and auditors' alternates of a local federation”. This means that people who sit on the board or executive committee of a municipally‑owned enterprise are not included. Moreover, committee assignments or commissions that are not regulated by the Local Government Act are not included. This means that assignments or commissions in state coordinating bodies at the local level, in labour market committees for instance, are not included in the survey's population.

Popularly elected candidates who sit on assemblies thus constitute but a part of the total number of elected representatives in municipalities and county councils.


The main results from the annual survey in 2003 are presented in the report entitled Det nya seklets förtroendevalda (which can be informally translated as The New Century's Elected Representatives) by Hanna Bäck, Uppsala University, and Richard Öhrvall, Statistics Sweden. In the report entitled Hel‑ och deltidsarvoderade förtroendevalda (which can be informally translated as Full‑ and Part‑time Remunerated Elected Representatives), a complementary account of the results can be found. Both of the reports are available as PDF files on government websites:

Other statistics

Statistics Sweden also conducts surveys of nominated and elected candidates in the general elections to the Riksdag (the Swedish Parliament), the county councils and the municipal councils. These elected candidates are popularly elected and constitute part of the total number of elected representatives. For more information, please see the following link: