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Sweden:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

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Overview Sweden

Contents

Sweden:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Sweden:Historical Development

Sweden:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Sweden:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Sweden:Political and Economic Situation

Sweden:Organisation and Governance

Sweden:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Sweden:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Sweden:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Sweden:Organisation of Private Education

Sweden:National Qualifications Framework

Sweden:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Sweden:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Sweden:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Sweden:Funding in Education

Sweden:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Sweden:Higher Education Funding

Sweden:Adult Education and Training Funding

Sweden:Early Childhood Education and Care

Sweden:Organisation of Programmes for Pre-Primary Education

Sweden:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Pre-Primary Education

Sweden:Assessment in Programmes for Pre-Primary Education

Sweden:Organisation of the Pre-Primary Class

Sweden:Teaching and Learning in the Pre-Primary Class

Sweden:Assessment in the Pre-Primary Class

Sweden:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Sweden:Single Structure Education (Integrated Primary and Lower Secondary Education)

Sweden:Organisation of Single Structure Education

Sweden:Teaching and Learning in Single Structure Education

Sweden:Assessment in Single Structure Education

Sweden:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Single Structure Education

Sweden:Upper Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Sweden:Organisation of Upper General and Vocational Secondary Education

Sweden:Teaching and Learning in Upper General and Vocational Secondary Education

Sweden:Assessment in Upper General and Vocational Secondary Education

Sweden:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Sweden:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Sweden:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Sweden:Higher Education

Sweden:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Sweden:First Cycle Programmes

Sweden:Bachelor

Sweden:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Sweden:Second Cycle Programmes

Sweden:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Sweden:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Sweden:Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Distribution of Responsibilities

Sweden:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Sweden:Main Providers

Sweden:Main Types of Provision

Sweden:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Sweden:Teachers and Education Staff

Sweden:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Sweden:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Sweden:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Sweden:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Management and Other Education Staff

Sweden:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Sweden:Management Staff for Higher Education

Sweden:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Sweden:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Quality Assurance

Sweden:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Sweden:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Educational Support and Guidance

Sweden:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Sweden:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Sweden:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Sweden:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Sweden:Mobility and Internationalisation

Sweden:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Mobility in Higher Education

Sweden:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Sweden:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Sweden:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Sweden:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Sweden:National Reforms in School Education

Sweden:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Sweden:National Reforms in Higher Education

Sweden:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Sweden:European Perspective

Sweden:Legislation

Sweden:Institutions

Sweden:Glossary

Demographic Situation

Sweden’s land area is about 450 000 km2 with a distance between the extreme northern and southern points of almost 1 600 km. Geographically Sweden is dominated by forests, lakes and rivers, but with a great variation in landscape, temperature and natural resources, affecting conditions for industry, agriculture etc. The border to Norway runs parallel to a range of mountains. There are thousands of islands off the 2 700 km long coast. The cultivated area amounts to around ten per cent of the land surface area.

In January 2016 the total population in Sweden amounted to 9 858 794 inhabitants. The population is very unevenly distributed over the country with most of the people aggregated to the southern third of the country. The average population density for Sweden is 23 inhabitants per km2.

The number of Swedes living in densely populated areas has increased steadily, and even some of the densely populated areas have experienced difficulties in trying to stem the outflow of people. However, the greatest difficulties are experienced in sparsely populated areas with poor transportations and few employment opportunities. Irrespective of where they live, all children and young people in Sweden must have equal access to the public education system, meaning the municipality must provide daily transportations if compulsory school education cannot be given within a certain distance from where a child lives. In upper secondary school pupils may have to commute to a bigger town.

Population Distributed by Age

Life expectancy in Sweden was 84 years for women and just over 80 years for men in 2014. Sweden is to some extent facing the same problem as most of Europe with an ageing population, although the birth rate is fairly high compared to many other countries.

 
Total
Per cent
Population (31 Jan 2016)
9 858 794

Newborn 2015
114 870

Deceased 2015
90 907

Persons 0-17 
2 025 077
20.6%

Persons >65

1 947 227
19.8%

Source: Statistics Sweden

Employment

Labour force and economically inactive in 2015 (population aged 15 - 74, per 1 000).


Labour force Employed Unemployed Unemployment rate
Total 7 206 4 772 411 7.4%
Men


7.5%
Women


7.2%

Source: Statistics Sweden

Immigration and Emigration

Immigration has fluctuated greatly during the post war era, in some years exceeding the number of births.

 
2015
2010
2000
1990
1980
1970
1960
Immigration (persons)
134 240 
98 801
58659
60048
39426
77326
26143
Emigration (persons)
55 830
48 853
34091
25196
29839
28635
15138
Foreign born
 
1 676 264
1 384 929
1 003 798
790 445        
 626 953
537 585 
 299 879
Foreign born, % of total population
 
17% 14.7% 11.3% 9.2% 7.5% 6.7% 4.0%

Source: Statistics Sweden

Official and Minority Languages

The official language in Sweden is Swedish. In some parts of northern Sweden, Sami and Tornedal Finnish (Meänkieli) is spoken. There are five official minority languages: Sami and Tornedal Finnish (autochthonous languages) and Finnish, Romany and Yiddish (non-territorial languages). To a certain extent citizens have the right to use these languages in their dealings with the authorities and courts. In certain areas they have the right to childcare and care of the elderly in Finnish and Sami. Sami speaking children can choose between attending compulsory school (grundskola) or Sami School (sameskola), with tuition until school year six in both Swedish and Sami.

Since the Second World War, increasing immigration to Sweden has led to the emergence of a number of minority groups with languages other than Swedish as their mother tongue. All children who speak a language other than Swedish at home are offered mother tongue tuition (modersmålsundervisning) in compulsory school and upper secondary school.

Religions

Christianity came to Sweden as early as the 9th century mainly as a result of an expansion in trade. The ancient Nordic religions were slowly replaced. Several centuries later all monarchs were Christian and Christianity became the established official religion. The church belonged to the international Catholic Church until 1527 when the Swedish state church was established as a Protestant church based on Lutheran principles.

In 1951 legislation on religious freedom was enacted, allowing citizens to leave the state church without entering another religious community. Previously, it was allowed to leave the state church, but only to engage in another community. The role of the Swedish church in society has since that changed in character: The majority of its members have nowadays little or no connection with regular worship at church services. Earlier, all children born in Sweden automatically became members of the Swedish state church, but since 1995 only those christened become members. The 1st of January 2000, the Swedish church separated from the state and there is no longer a State church in Sweden.

Recent decades has seen an increase in religious diversity. As a consequence of immigration the Roman Catholic Church, different Orthodox churches as well as non Christian religions such as Islam and Buddhism have expanded. Jewish communities have existed in Sweden since the end of the 18th century.