Last updated: 11 11 2021

Image Boken om Sverige
This material is from the book About Sweden.

About 10 million people live in Sweden. Sweden's population has increased in recent decades. This is due to increased immigration and because people are living longer. Women live for an average of 84 years and men for an average of 80 years. The majority of the Swedish population live in cities. The regions around Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö are home to 3.5 million people.

Sweden's national minorities and minority languages

There is a law in Sweden that protects national minorities. The five recognised national minorities in Sweden are Jews, Roma, Sami, Sweden Finns and Tornedalians. The historical minority languages are Yiddish, Romani, Sami, Finnish and Meänkieli. The Government works to strengthen the national minorities' human rights.

Sweden's national minorities have certain things in common: they have lived in Sweden for a long time and they each possess a strong internal affinity. Each minority also shares a religious, linguistic or cultural sense of belonging, and a desire to retain their cultural and linguistic identity.

The Sami live in four countries: Russia, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The geographical area is named Sápmi and stretches from Idre in Dalarna in the south, to the Arctic Ocean in Norway in the north and in the east to the Kola Peninsula in Russia. ​ Illustrator: Anders Suneson - samer.se

The Sami are Sweden's only recognised indigenous people. They live in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia. The Sami population in Sweden is about 20,000. The Sami have traditionally lived from hunting, fishing, handicrafts and reindeer herding. Reindeer are an Arctic species of deer that the Sami have domesticated. The Sami celebrate their national day on 6 February. The date was chosen to commemorate the first Sami assembly, held in Trondheim, Norway, on 6 February 1917.

From the 13th century until 1809 Sweden and Finland were one country, and Finns (known as Sweden Finns) have lived in Sweden since the Middle Ages. Between 450,000 and 600,000 Sweden Finns currently live in Sweden. The Torne Valley, where they speak Meänkieli, was divided in two in 1809, with the western part becoming Swedish and the eastern part becoming Finnish. A minority group called Tornedalians now live on the Swedish side. Since 2014 the Tornedalians celebrate their annual day on 15 July.

Jews have lived in Sweden since the 17th century. During the 20th century, Jewish immigration to Sweden increased as a result of the Second World War and the persecution of Jews. About 25,000 Jews live in Sweden, of which around 4,000 speak Yiddish. The Yiddish language has been one of Sweden's national minority languages since 2000.

Roma have lived in Sweden since the 16th century. Between 50,000 and 100,000 Roma currently live in Sweden. Roma are a mixed group with several linguistic, religious and cultural variations. Romani is the language of Roma.