Cities are population winners in northern Sweden

Luleå in northern Sweden. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)
If it weren’t for Umeå, Skellefteå, Luleå and Boden – population in northern Sweden would decline.

There are now more than 10 million inhabitants in Sweden. Population growth is mainly due to a sharp increase in immigration the last few years.

The growth is, however, far from equally spread. Only six municipalities in mid- and southern Sweden had a tiny decline in population last year.

In Sweden’s two northernmost counties, Västerbotten and Norrbotten, 13 of 29 municipalities saw a decline in population from 2015 to 2016, according to the overview published by Statistics Sweden this week.

Decline in rural areas
Town-hall in Pajala, one of the municipalities with sharpest decline in population in 2016. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)

Rural areas in the north are the losers.

Pajala and Övertonreå on Sweden’s border to Finland in the north are worst-off in percentage of population. Pajala lost 77 inhabitants. Övertorneå is down 69 year-on-year. Also Gällivare, Storuman and Arvidsjaur face a negative population trend.

The big winners in the north are Umeå and Luleå, up 2,115 and 682 people last year. Also Skellefteå and Boden had a good growth. These four cities alone saved a growth in population in the two counties.

With 122,892 inhabitants, Umeå is the largest city in northern Sweden. In Norrbotten, Luleå is the largest with 76,770 inhabitants.

Västerbotten’s population is up 2,502 people and Norrbotten is up 837 since the beginning of 2016, countings by Statistic Sweden shows.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Census 2016: Nunavut leads Canada’s population growth, Radio Canada International

Norway: More people now live in Oslo than in most of northern Norway, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: People continue to move away from Russia’s Murmansk region, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: Populations on the rise in Alaska villages threatened by erosion, changing climate, Alaska Dispatch News

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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