Things are going well for Norrbotten, the population is slowly growing and the county's level of employment is approximately the same as the rest of the country. Just like in other parts of the country, the housing market varies from municipality to municipality. There is a housing shortage in around half of the municipalities in the county, which has resulted in a price increase for single-family houses and tenant-owner flats, and an increasing queue for rented flats. In recent years, the level of new build housing has been low, but an increase is now noticeable in a number of municipalities. Many live in one location and work in another. Commuting distances are relatively short between the major population centres in the county. The public transport offering by bus is relatively good for routes where many commute.
Business and employers
The ore, the steel, the forest and the hydro-power are important, both for the county and for the whole of Sweden. The county has exporting manufacturing companies, a growing tourism and services sector, and small businesses that are growing in importance.
The largest employers in the county are Norrbotten county council, with almost 7,500 employees, followed by the municipalities of Luleå, Piteå and Boden. The largest private employer is LKAB. SSAB is of the world's leading manufacturers of steel.
The establishment of a large international company's computer centre in Luleå has supplemented the business sector in the county. The computer centre has gained global interest, and has opened up opportunities for more investments in the county. The willingness to invest in existing companies is great. The mining companies are investing billions in several places in the county.
Schools and education
Luleå University of Technology is the northern-most technology university in Scandinavia, with research and teaching of world class. The university offers many different programmes, such as technology, economics, social sciences, health, media and music, as well as teacher training. Luleå University of Technology is located on five campuses: Luleå, Piteå, Skellefteå, Kiruna and the School of Mines in Filipstad. Norrbotten has a number of vocational college programmes. The programmes result in a clear professional role, and are offered in close collaboration with business.
The county has five hospitals: the county hospital Sunderby in Luleå, Gällivare hospital, Kalix hospital, Kiruna hospital and Piteå Älvdal hospital. There are also 34 medical centres, mostly operated by the county council, but some also by private care providers. Each municipality has at least one medical centre.
Culture and leisure
The county has a broad range of cultural and leisure activities, interesting natural and cultural environments and popular visitor attractions. The range of cultural activities include dance and drama experiences and concerts of many different types. There is one major theatre, but plays are also put on in other premises around the county. During the year, there are festivals and market activities that attract many visitors to various municipalities around the county. Norrbotten also has several museums around the county. One example is Ájtte Museum in Jokkmokk, where visitors can learn about Sami culture.
Norrbotten also has a fantastically rich and varied natural landscape, which is a great resource for the county. The county has 354 nature reserves, where you can walk, pick berries and mushrooms and experience mountains and fantastic water-rich river deltas. In most places, fishing, hunting and driving snow scooters are also permitted. The county offers lots of opportunities to carry on sports and leisure activities both in summer and in winter. Skis and skates can provide new experiences, and Norrbotten also has many sports clubs that make it possible for people of all ages to take part in sports and be active.
Associations and organisations – civil society
Norrbotten has many different not-for-profit associations, where old and young are offered opportunities to find various activities. There are study associations that make it possible to learn to sing, dance and gain in-depth knowledge of various languages or areas of knowledge. There are also several folk high schools that offer teaching, for example in creative arts.
Norrbotten has several different faiths that gather and unite people. Several organisations in Norrbotten also work on increasing the integration between native Norrbotten people and those who move here.
Norrbotten county has a Regional Working Group for Integration, consisting of the county administrative board, the employment service, the Migration Board, the county council, Hela Sverige ska Leva, the Federation of Swedish Enterprise, the social insurance service, the Church of Sweden, the Swedish Sports Confederation, the Swedish Education Confederation, the Red Cross, Save the Children and all the municipalities. The group highlights important development areas, gathers together motivated actors and is a teaching network. All individuals moving to the county are regarded as resources who are needed for continued growth and development of the county.