According to Statistiska centralbyrån (Statistics Sweden), Sweden's population reached 9,000,000 As of 12 August 2004. See the Swedish population web counter.
The five largest cities are:
- Population: 9,316,256 (As of 31 August 2009)
- Annual population growth rate: 0.82% (As of 2009)
- Population growth: Averaging 1 person/15 minutes
- Net migration rate: 0.91 migrant(s)/1,000 population (As of 2001 est.)
- Total fertility rate: 1.91 children born/woman (2008 est.)
- Infant mortality rate: 2.8 deaths/1,000 live births (As of 2006 est.)
- Life expectancy at birth: 79.71 years
Male: 77.07 years
- Female: 82.5 years (As of 2001 est.)
- Stockholm - 1,252,020
- Gothenburg - 510,181
- Malmö - 258,020
- Uppsala - 128,409
- Västerås - 107,005
Swedish welfare refers to the Swedish variant of the mixed economy welfare state prevalent in much of the industrialized world. Similar systems are found especially in the other Nordic countries.
Sweden has been categorized by some observers as a middle way between a capitalist economy and a socialist economy. Supporters of the idea assert that Sweden has found a way of achieving high levels of social equality, without stifling entrepreneurship. The viewpoint has been questioned by supporters of economic liberalization in Sweden and skeptics of socialism as a viable approach to economic management.
The term "Swedish model" has also been used as a label. The September 2006 issue of The Australian Financial Review magazine carried an article which praised what it asserted to be Sweden's distinctive political and social system, while The Economist carried an article in its September 7, 2006 issue which featured interviews with Swedish economist Assar Lindbeck who was critical of the achievements of the Swedish welfare state.
Education in Sweden is mandatory for all children aged 6 to 16. All 6 year olds attend a non compulsory pre-school class run within the school system. The school year in Sweden runs from mid/late August to early/mid June. The Christmas holiday from mid December to early January divides the Swedish school year into two terms.
All young children from 1 to 5 years old are guaranteed a place in public day-care facility (förskola or daghem/dagis). Between ages 7 and 16, children attend compulsory comprehensive school, divided in three stages. After completing the ninth grade, 63% of students choose to continue studying. For people aged 25 to 34, this figure rises to 76%. only 19% however, continue studying longer than three years, often in university or university college (högskola). Both upper secondary school and university studies are financed by taxes. Some Swedes go straight to work after secondary school.
Along with several other European countries, the government also subsidizes tuition of international students pursuing a degree at Swedish institutions, although there has been talk of this being changed. Swedish 15-years-old pupils have the 22nd highest average score in the PISA assessments, being neither significantly higher nor lower than the OECD average. Only Canada, the United States, and Japan have higher levels of tertiary degree holders.
Sweden was pagan before the 11th century, when the country underwent Christianization. Since the Protestant Reformation in the 1530s, the country is Lutheran, with the Church of Sweden (Swedish: Svenska kyrkan) being allowed the status of state church until 2000. As of 2008, 72.9% of the Swedes were members of the church, a drop of 1.4 % compared to 2007. Less than 4 percent of the Church of Sweden membership attends public worship during an average week; about 2 percent are regular attenders.
Numerous other religious groups are represented in the Swedish society. The history of the Jews in Sweden can be traced back to the seventeenth century. Due to immigration, there is also a significant number of Muslims, as well as Syriac Christians. Immigration, most notably from Poland and former Yugoslavia, is also the reason behind the fast growth of the Catholic Church in Sweden.
According to the most recent Eurobarometer Poll 2005,
- 23% of Swedish citizens responded that "they believe there is a God".
- 53% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force".
- 23% answered that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God, or life force".