The Sweden population amounts to 8,692,013 residents (1993), distributed over an area of 410,934 km 2 (449,964 with inland waters), for a density of about 21 residents / km 2. The demographic increase, on the whole equal to 0.6% per year (1987-92), is positive in the counties where the population concentration is higher and which host the most important metropolitan areas of the country, and negative in the northern, populated regions. mainly for reasons related to the exploitation of mineral resources. In the last decade, the trend towards urbanization of the population has come to a halt, 84% of which lived in urban agglomerations in 1990 (compared to 85.5% in 1985). The Stockholm agglomeration alone hosts 17.5% (1.669.840 residents) of the Swedish population. The birth rate (which had been decreasing during the 1970s) has recovered sharply: 14.2ı in 1992 against 11ı in 1983, while the general death rate is stationary.
In the use of the soil the great importance of the woodland remains: 62.3% of the territory is, in fact, covered by the forest mantle (for 84% fir trees), while only 7% is dedicated to crops, meadows and permanent pastures., 4% of the total. Thanks to widespread mechanization and advanced agricultural techniques, agriculture, which occupies only 3.6% of the active population, makes it possible to obtain moderate quantities of basic food products (cereals, meat, dairy products).
In the last decade, cereal cultivation has seen a steady decrease in the area reserved for it; however – due to the increase in average yields per hectare of the most common cereals (wheat 54 q / ha in 1992 against 41 q / ha in 1977), and with the exception of rye, whose production has more than halved over the course of fifteen years (1,280,000 q in 1992 against 3,640,000 q in 1977) – production remained stationary (wheat about 15 million q; barley about 20 million q). Other traditional crops are potatoes (about 11.5 million q in 1992) and beetroot (20 million q). Horticulture (beans, onions, peas, tomatoes, etc.) is making significant progress, despite the difficult climatic conditions, and is increasingly practiced in greenhouses. In fruit growing, however,
Forestry is an important item for Sweden, which, despite the recent government restrictions imposed for environmental protection reasons, remains in first place in Europe (excluding Russia) for the production of timber (51.7 million m 3 in 1991). Technological evolution has allowed Sweden to cope with the shortage of skilled labor thanks to the use of computerized machines, each of which is able to cut down and dissect 1000 trees per day.
In livestock breeding there is a continuous, albeit moderate, downsizing of cattle (1,774,000 head) in favor of sheep (448,000 head). Pig farming, which had grown sharply in the previous decade, is on the other hand in decline (2,280,000). The opposite evolution is that of equine breeding which, considered in irreversible decline in 1977, recorded an increase of 20% (54,000 head). The breeding of fur animals – mainly foxes and minks – is also constantly expanding. The production of dairy products (milk 3,168,000 t; butter 59,000 t; cheese 115,000 t) and meat (478,000 t) significantly increased. Fishing is an increasingly marginal activity in the Swedish economy, and now employs only 3473 people (1992) for a catch of 225,000 t in 1991.
Sweden has numerous minerals, the extraction of which however represents less than 0.5% of GDP. From the well-known iron ore deposits in Lapland (Kiruna, Gällivare, Svappavaara) and those of southern Sweden (Grängesberg, Strässa) only 12 ÷ 13 million t of Fe content are extracted by now (compared to 22 million in 1974), which in any case assure Sweden in third place among European producers, after Russia and Ukraine. Also important are the production of copper (90,000 t), lead (90,000 t), zinc (180,000 t), tungsten and molybdenum. The Sweden, poor in fossil fuels, can count on a good supply of uranium and, above all, on the richness of the waters; however, it still has to import 51% of energy sources (up from 78% in 1973). The production of electricity and nuclear power plants has made progress but,
The most important manufacturing activities are related to the production of metals. The steel industry – whose most important centers are Borlänge, Luleå, Oxelösund and Munkfors – has always been renowned for the production of special steels, widely exported, but the production of cast iron (2,735,000 t in 1992) and common steel remains significant. (4,358,000 t). Thanks to the abundance of water resources, electrometallurgy plays an important role in the country’s economy; in addition to steel, it involves aluminum (77,200 tons of metal first cast in 1991), zinc and silver.
The mechanical industries are currently in crisis, as evidenced by the decline in automobile production, which went from 408,000 cars and 65,000 industrial vehicles produced in 1986 to 282,136 cars and 63,086 industrial vehicles in 1992. The chemical industry remains very important and, naturally, the wood and derivatives industry: paper pulp (9,312,000 t produced in 1992), paper (about 8 million t). The Swedish economy, however, has for some time now been clearly tertiary in character, considering that more than two thirds of the assets work in this sector. For Sweden 2001, please check naturegnosis.com.
After the crisis of the seventies and starting from 1982, the year of the devaluation of the crown, the Sweden had experienced a few years of continuous economic growth, also thanks to the favorable international situation, characterized by the reduction in crude oil prices. The reduction in the inflation rate, the marked improvement in the balance of payments and the creation of 85,000 new jobs between 1982 and 1985 (the unemployment rate, equal to 2.8%, was one of the most low of Europe) were the most evident aspects of that favorable situation, which however did not last long. Starting from the 1990s, industrial production decreased not only in the metalworking sector, but also in other traditional sectors (textiles, garments, shipyards), and by now the unemployment rate is starting to reach alarming values (8.2% of the active population in 1993) for a country that had always been an importer of labor. This situation largely explains the decision of the Swedish government (and the consent of the population) to finally join the European Union (starting from 1 January 1995, together with Finland, but not with Norway). In addition to the traditional onesScandinavian partners, Sweden maintains the largest commercial exchanges with Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The high degree of economic development, however remarkable despite the difficulties of the moment, is testified first of all by the per capita income (about 25,000 US dollars in 1993) but also, among other things, by the considerable diffusion of private means of transport (one car for every 2.2 residents) and by the rapid expansion of air transport (8.6 billion passengers / km in 1991), which animates not only the international airports of Arlanda (Stockholm) and Landvetter (Gothenburg), but also the numerous other airports distributed throughout the country, including the depopulated North. On the other hand, railways lose importance, at least for passenger transport (9930 km in 1992, of which 7352 were electrified). In the last fifteen years, the Swedish merchant fleet has recorded a drastic reduction both in the number of units and in gross tonnage (from 7.4 million tons in 1977 to 2.8 million in 1992).