Report: The Nordic region is strong and growing – and Stockholm tops the chart

Report: The Nordic region is strong and growing – and Stockholm tops the chart

The Nordic Council on 6 February published its biennial report, the State of the Nordic Region 2018, which draws on the latest statistics on demographic change, labour market trends and education, as well as economic performance. The report states that over the past 10 years, the population has grown quicker but also aged faster than in many other European regions. Between 2011 and 2016, roughly 26% of Nordic municipalities increased their population only due to international migration. By 2030, the Nordics is expected to have around 29 million inhabitants, an increase of more than 10%. However, this process does not affect all Nordic municipalities in equal measure; population growth is largely concentrated in the urban areas, while many remote areas face population decline and high rates of population ageing. The Nordic economy is doing well and despite the various challenges linked to ongoing global market changes, the Nordic’s recovery rate after the economic crisis has been impressive, according to the report. Furthermore, the Nordics remain an attractive destination for foreign investment, accounting for 7% of Europe’s total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in-flows, despite constituting a smaller segment of the European population (less than 4%).

Stockholm tops the charts

Stockholm comes out first in the Nordregio Regional Potential Index. The State of the Nordic Region was last issued in 2016, where the Oslo region came out on top. In 2018, Oslo has dropped to third place, overtaken by Copenhagen, but with Stockholm as the overall winner. Stockholm retains its first rank in the economic category and its 4th rank in the demographic category. Stockholm notably improved its labour force dimension, rising from the 14th to the 8th in this dimension, thanks to a higher employment rate (rising from 76% to 81%), a higher share of the age-group 25–64 with a higher education degree (from 47% to 51%) and a lower youth unemployment rate (falling from 20% to 19%). 

The report is available for download here.



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Jessica Nilsson Williams is the CEO & Founder of Mundus International. She has a long-standing interest in international affairs, having worked in the field for 20 years. She began her career as the political advisor at the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm, and then worked in the corporate- and NGOs sectors London and Singapore before returning to Stockholm. In 2011 she took up a senior role at the New Zealand Embassy before founding Mundus International in 2012.