Stockholm Chamber of Commerce asked 2,067 people living outside of Stockholm what they thought of the city. More than a third (40 percent) said they feel conflicts between Stockholm and the rest of the country have grown in the last 10 years.
It showed that certain groups in particular are more likely to think positive developments for Stockholm contribute to a negative development for the rest of the country: the elderly, those who live in smaller towns, those who have never lived in Stockholm, those who sympathize with the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, those who grew up in agricultural families, and those who have a low level of education.
“If you look at the hard facts it's not the case that there's a lack of balance or Stockholm's growth is encouraged at the cost of other places in the country. But what the report suggests is that in other parts of the country people feel they don't have access to the same services. They're quite dissatisfied about the postal service there, or healthcare for example. There's also a desire to see more infrastructural investment there, and a feeling that people in Stockholm don't understand how it is to live in other parts of the country,” Fredrik Torehammar from Stockholm Chamber of Commerce told The Local.
Many (37 percent) who participated said they feel Stockholm residents have a poor understanding of what it's like living in the rest of Sweden.
“It's not a new feeling, but a significant proportion feel that the gaps are getting bigger. In part it's because even if it has gone very well for all of Sweden in recent years, Stockholm in particular has grown a lot. There's also an international explanation: people could be impacted by developments in other western democracies like the US or UK, where populism has grown, and is often explained in these kind of city v countryside terms,” Torehammar noted.
The best thing about the capital? What it offers for your free time (14.6 percent), culture (12.2 percent) and also that it's pretty (12 percent). However 8.7 percent chose to answer “nothing”, “not being there” or “leaving it” to the question of what the best thing about the city is.
As for what is worst about the capital, 21.4 percent said stress, 18.3 percent that there's too many people, and 14.5 percent the traffic. 36 percent said they could “absolutely not” see themselves living there. If only young people (aged 18-29) are looked at however, 41 percent said they would consider living there.
A quirk that emerged from the survey is that Swedes talk differently about Stockholm to non-Swedes than they do to other Swedish people. So despite the aforementioned criticisms, More than half (56 percent) said they would praise Stockholm to people from other countries.
“Those people who are often critical of Stockholm to other Swedes, if they have to talk about it to people who are not Swedish, they say it's very pretty, you should travel there, and they're proud. I'm not sure that'd be the case in all other countries,” Torehammar concluded.