Stockholm plays host to 186 nationalities

The county of Stockholm is now home to over 2 million people, among whom can be found people born in 186 countries, according to a new report from the County Administrative Board of Stockholm.

Stockholm plays host to 186 nationalities

“We have looked at the statistics for place of birth. The United Nations lists 194 independent states; of those only 11 are not represented in Stockholm,” Kjell Haglund at the board told The Local on Tuesday.

The board’s report is based on figures from Statistics Sweden (SCB), which supplements the UN tally with people born in Kosovo, Bermuda and the Palestinian territories, each of which are represented in Stockholm, bringing the total nation count to 197.

“It is a little unclear how these places are classified, there are various issues to take into account, but we have included them here,” Haglund explained.

On January 1st 2010 Stockholm county had a population of 2,019,182 passing the two million barrier for the first time, 21 percent (424,028) were born in another country.

“This could include the odd Swede who is born overseas, but that has probably not affected the breadth of the statistics,” Haglund said.

Haglund told The Local that the selection of foreign-born people represented in Stockholm county has not changed dramatically since 2006, with only the addition of new states affecting the total number.

Of the 11 missing territories three are located in Europe – Andorra, Liechtenstein and the Vatican state – while the remainder are in Asia and among the Polynesian islands in Oceania.

The largest group of foreign-born are from Finland (57,577), Iraq (35,785), Poland (24,370) and Iran (22,444). The Caribbean nation of St Kitts and Nevis and the Pacific island Nauru are each represented by a sole person, East Timor, Belize and the Solomon Islands by two.

The highest percentage changes have occurred among people from Mongolia, up 190 percent to 345 people, and Serbia and Montenegro, up 125 percent to 1,634 people.

The highest changes in population numbers have occurred within the Iraqi, Polish and Chinese populations, up 8,365, 6,831 and 2,282 respectively.

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Could maps of Sweden be completely redrawn?

The Swedish government has announced plans to merge old counties into new administrative regions, in a bid to change a centuries old tradition that could see the map of Sweden completely redrawn.

Could maps of Sweden be completely redrawn?
Know your Swedish geography? Think again. Photo: Shutterstock

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Sweden has enjoyed the fastest rate of urbanization in Europe in recent years, which has put pressure on today's regional councils, Minister for Public Administration Ardalan Shekarabi writes in an opinion piece for newspaper Dagens Nyheter, published on Monday.

"The time has come to update Sweden's geographical division and create regional organizations that are more compatible with the needs and expectations of the modern citizen," he writes.

A decision on how to merge Sweden's 20 counties into new so called 'greater regions' is to be taken by December 2017 at the latest. The extensive reform would then take place gradually with one or more new regions being created by January 2019.

Sweden's administrative division into counties was originally conceived in the 17th century and has not changed much in the past hundred years. It has not adapted to the challenges of the country's modern society, writes Shekarabi, of the leading Social Democrat-Green coalition government.

“People don't let their dreams or everyday needs stop at administrative municipality or county borders. Citizens today move across significantly bigger geographical areas than before, and most civic issues concern more than just one county. It is obvious that the current divisions into counties is not adapted to this. Sweden's regional division needs to be modernized,” he adds.

The administration of Sweden is heavily decentralized, and county councils are in charge of issues such as health care and public transport.

If his calls lead to changes, it would not be the first time two or more regional councils have merged in Sweden in recent decades. In 1997-1998 the Skåne region was created from Malmöhus and Kristianstad counties, and the Västra Götaland county from former Göteborgs and Bohus county and Älvsborg and Skaraborg counties.

A government inquiry proposed dividing Sweden into six to nine greater regions in 2007, but no move to put the proposal into action was ever made.