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Localities and urban areas 2018

There are 8.9 million inhabitants in urban areas

Statistical news from Statistics Sweden 2019-10-24 9.30

At the end of 2018, 87 percent of Sweden’s population lived in an urban area. This share is unchanged from 2015. An urban area has at least 200 inhabitants, according to the Swedish definition, which means that urban areas comprise the largest cities, as well as small areas with just over 200 inhabitants.

In 2018, there were 2 011 localities (urban areas) in Sweden. This is an increase of 32 areas compared with 2015. Changes occur when new agglomerations are formed and also when areas can no longer be classified as localities. In total, 53 localities were removed from the list during the period and 85 new locations were added.

Most Swedish localities are very small. In 2018, 62 percent had fewer than 1 000 inhabitants.

Urban areas with more than 10 000 inhabitants

The majority of Sweden’s population lives in large urban areas. In 2018, 63 percent of the population lived in 126 urban areas with more than 10 000 inhabitants. The nine urban areas with more than 100 000 inhabitants had 3.3 million inhabitants in total, which corresponds to 32 percent of the total population in 2018.

There are 1 423 inhabitants per square kilometre

In 2018, Sweden’s urban areas covered almost 630 000 hectares, which corresponds to 1.5 percent of Sweden’s entire land area. Since 2015, the total land area of the urban areas has expanded by almost 11 000 hectares. This increase consists of both completely new buildings and an increase in the population in existing buildings, so that the area can be classified as an urban area.

The average population density in Sweden’s urban areas was 1 423 inhabitants per square kilometre in 2018. Outside the agglomerations, the population density was three inhabitants per square kilometre. Since 2015, population density in urban areas has increased by 34 persons per square kilometre.

Definitions and explanations

Delineation of Swedish localities

Statistics from Statistics Sweden concerning localities are produced in the following steps:

  1. A core is created, in which there is a maximum of 150 metres between the houses.
  2. Cores created in Step 1 are linked to connected areas. The maximum distance increases gradually, based on the combined number of people living and working in the areas. The link goes via the road network. The largest distance between areas is 500 metres.
  3. Phenomena that are clearly marked in register data located in direct connection to other buildings in the locality can link parts together or comprise the outer regions of the locality. Examples of such are sports fields, cemeteries, industry sites, and allotment gardens with buildings.
  4. Water without a bridge connection constitutes a barrier and divides agglomerations.
  5. Land areas that are completely surrounded by buildings and water, and make up at most 2 percent of the locality’s land area, are included in the urban area.
  6. A locality has no less than 200 inhabitants.
  7. There is no limit on the proportion of holiday homes in the locality. Localities may also overlap Statistics Sweden’s boundaries for areas for holiday homes.


A more detailed report of this survey is published in a Statistical Report.

Next publishing will be

The next statistical news in this series will be published in 2020.

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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