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Coast, shores and islands in Sweden 2013:

3 percent of Sweden's land area consists of islands

Statistical news from Statistics Sweden 2014-12-08 9.30

Sweden has nearly 270 000 islands. Most of the islands are in Norrbotten County, followed by Stockholm County and Västra Götaland County. 38 percent of all the islands are situated in the seas (sea islands). Stockholm County has the largest share of sea islands, 93 percent.

The land area amounts to 1.2 million hectares. This corresponds to 3 percent of the total land area of Sweden. Sweden's largest island is Gotland, which has a land area of nearly 300 000 hectares (3 000 km2) and a perimeter of 800 kilometres. Sweden's second largest island is Öland.

Key figures Islands in total
Number of islands 267 570
Area, hectares 1 211 243
Perimeter, km 67 251
Number of populated islands 984
Population of islands 1 602 930
Number of inhabited islands 8 093
Number of buildings on islands 905 268
of which housing 414 277

Few islands have a permanent population

Slightly more than 8 000 islands had some form of buildings in 2013. Of these islands, nearly 7 000 had buildings that were classified as dwellings. At the same time, not even 1 000 islands had a permanent population. This only corresponds to 0.4 percent of all of Sweden's islands. Stockholm County followed by Västra Götaland County had the most islands that were populated. The combination of many islands and a large population place these counties at the top. But even in these counties the share of populated islands was less than 1 percent.

More than 1.6 million persons lived on an island in 2013. This corresponds to 17 percent of the population of Sweden. This figure is high because there are densely populated islands in the larger cities of Sweden, such as Södermalm in Stockholm and Hisingen in Gothenburg. According to the definition that Statistics Sweden uses for islands, all of Södertörn and parts of Nacka are considered to be an island, which means that more than half of the population of Stockholm County lives on islands.

Definitions and explanations

In the statistics, Statistics Sweden defines islands as land areas surrounded by water, according to Lantmäteriet's (the national land survey office) real estate map, map layers "MV Outer layers with water (lakes and large watercourses)". The water map of Lantmäteriet shows water in the scale 1:10 000 within the borders of Sweden. "The hole" in the water map has formed the islands. The statistics also include islands surrounded by artificial water and artificial islands. Examples of these are piers, pond islands, castles completely surrounded by a moat and other types of islands separated from other land areas by a canal that has been dug. The smallest islands have an area of 9 square metres.


This report is published in more detail in the Statistical Report Islands in Sweden 2013.

Statistical Database

More information is available in the Statistical Database

Feel free to use the facts from this statistical news but remember to state Source: Statistics Sweden.

Statistical agency and producer

Statistics Sweden, Environmental accounts and Environment

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Karin Hedeklint

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Johan Stålnacke

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