Urban areas in Sweden

Urban areas in Sweden

Urban area is a common English translation of the Swedish term "tätort". The official term in English, used by Statistics Sweden, is, however, locality. There are 1,940 localities in Sweden (2005). They could be compared with "census-designated places" in the United States.

A "tätort" in Sweden has a minimum of 200 inhabitants, and may be a city, town or larger village. Urban areas referred to as cities/towns ("stad") for statistical purposes have a minimum of 10,000 inhabitants.Statistics Sweden. [http://www.scb.se/statistik/MI/MI0810/2000I02/MI38SM9601.pdf Be 16 SM 9601] , Tätorter 1995, p. 2: "Towns (localities with more than 10,000 inhabitants)".] However, since 1971, the term "stad" is no longer in use as a judicial concept in Sweden.


Up until the beginning of the 20th century only the cities were regarded as urban areas. The built-up area and the municipal entity were normally almost congruent. Urbanization and industrialization created, however, many new settlements without formal city status. New suburbs grew up just outside city limits, being "de facto" urban but "de jure" rural. This was of course a statistical problem. The census of 1910 introduced the concept of "densely populated localities in the countryside". The term "tätort" (literally "dense place") was introduced in 1930. The municipal amalgamations placed more and more rural areas within city municipalities, which was the other side of the same problem. The administrative boundaries were in fact not suitable for defining rural and urban populations. From 1950 rural and urban areas had to be separated even within city limits, as e.g. the huge wilderness around Kiruna had been declared a "city" in 1948. From 1965 only "non-administrative localities" are counted, independently of municipal and county borders. In 1971 "city" was abolished as a type of municipality.


Urban areas in the meaning of "tätort" are defined independently on the division into counties and municipalities, and are defined solely after density of population. In practice, most references in Sweden are to municipalities, not specifically to towns or cities, which complicates international comparisons. Most municipalities contain many localities (up to 26 in Kristianstad Municipality). Some localities are multimunicipal [http://w41.scb.se/templates/Publikation____186288.asp] ; Stockholm urban area is spread over 11 municipalities.

When comparing the population of different cities, the urban area ("tätort") population is to prefer ahead of the population of the municipality. The population of e.g. Stockholm should be accounted as ~1.2 million rather than the ~750,000 of the municipality, and Lund rather ~75,000 than ~100,000.

wedish definitions

Terms used for statistical purposes

* "Tätort" (= urban area or locality) is the central concept used in statistics. The definition is agreed upon in the Nordic countries: A "tätort" is any village, town or city with a population of at least 200 for which the contiguous built-up area meet the criterion that houses are not more than 200 meters apart when discounting rivers, parks, roads, etc. [Statistics Sweden. [http://w41.scb.se/statistik/MI/MI0810/2000I02/MI38SM9602.pdf Be 16 SM 9602] , Småorter 1995, Befolkningskoncentrationer i glesbygd, English summary, p. 3: "Locality (having at least 200 inhabitants) = urban area". Retrieved 2 December 2007.] Every fifth year (2000, 2005 etc) the localities are revised and new population figures released.
* "Småort" (= minor locality) is a rural locality with 50–199 inhabitants in a contiguous built-up area with no more than 150 meters between houses. [Statistics Sweden. [http://w41.scb.se/statistik/MI/MI0810/2000I02/MI38SM9602.pdf Agglomerations in rural areas 1995] , Småorter 1995 Befolkningskoncentrationer i glesbygd. Retrieved 2 December 2007.] The concept is rarely used outside the field of statistics, where it is used for settlements just below the limit defined for "tätort".
* "Centralort" (= central locality) is mostly used in the meaning municipal seat or municipal center of service, commerce and administration for an area.

Popular and traditional terms

* "Storstad" (= metropolis) is a term usually reserved for Sweden's three largest cities: Stockholm, Göteborg (Gothenburg) and Malmö. Statistics Sweden uses the term metropolitan area ("storstadsområde") for these three cities. [Statistics Sweden. [http://www.scb.se/statistik/BE/BE0101/2003A01/BE0101_2003A01_BR_05_BE76SA0401.pdf Population in the metropolitan areas on Dec. 31, 2002 and 2003] , SCB Befolkningsstatistik del 1-2, 2003. Retrieved 2 December 2007.]
* "Stad" (= town and city) is in a context of statistics restricted to localities with a population greater than 10,000. Judicially, the term "stad" is obsolete since 1971, and is now mostly used describing localities which formerly were chartered cities. The statistical category "large town" used by Statistics Sweden include municipalities with more than 90,000 inhabitants within a 30 km radius from the municipality centre. [Statistics Sweden. [http://www.scb.se/templates/pressinfo____169883.asp Press release] , Household budget survey (HBS), 2006-06-01 Nr 2006:079A. Retrieved 2 December 2007.]
* "Köping" (= market town) was abolished as an official term in 1971 in governmental and statistical contexts, and is only rarely kept in use by laymen, although it has survived as part of the names of several towns. The meaning was a locality with an intermediary legal status below that of a town.
* "Samhälle" (= community) is a common concept used by for urban areas that are intermediary in size between a town and a village. The term "samhälle" is also used in Swedish to denote "society", "community" or "state". (Compare: Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft.) A "samhälle" does not necessarily meet the criteria for the current "tätort" — or even "småort" concept.
* "Municipalsamhälle" (= municipal community) was a term in use between 1875 and 1971, but it is no longer used outside of historical contexts. In 1863, Sweden was divided into 2,500 municipalities, whereof 89 were towns, 8 were market towns (köpingar) and the rest rural municipalities ("landskommuner"). A "municipalsamhälle" was an administrative centre for one or several rural municipalities, with special regulations and privileges in common with towns. The term became obsolete in 1971 when the different types of municipalities were abandoned and a standard form for all municipalities was introduced.
* "By" (= village and hamlet) is a traditional term but may in some contexts be used for suburbs and towns of considerable size. If at all used in the context of statistics, it must be assumed that the size of a "by" is smaller than that of a "småort." (NB! Not to be confused with the same word in Danish and Norwegian that means town/city.)

easonal areas and suburbs

* "Fritidshusområde" (= seasonal area) is in statistical context an area with less than 50 permanent inhabitants but at least 50 houses (in practice: weekend cottages/summer houses) meeting the criterion that they are not more than 150 metres apart. About a third of Sweden's "second homes" are located in such areas. The term belongs also to everyday usage, although less strictly defined.
* "Förstad" and "förort" (= suburb) are much used terms with a somewhat negative connotation.


Data are computed by Statistics Sweden every five years. The latest data are as of December 31, 2005. Then the total population of the urban areas (or localities) in Sweden was 7,631,952 on an area of 5,286.23 km², which gives an average population density of 1,444/km².

* 84% of the Swedish population lives in localities (i.e. in "tätorts)"
* 50% lives in the 64 largest urban areas
* A third lives in the 15 largest urban areas
* A quarter lives in the 5 largest
* The largest and most populous urban area is Stockholm

ee also

*List of urban areas in Sweden
*Largest urban areas of the European Union
*Geography of Sweden
*List of municipalities of Sweden
*List of cities in Sweden
*Largest urban areas of Norway


External links

* [http://www.scb.se/templates/Product____12991.asp "Tätort-"statistics] from Statistics Sweden

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • List of urban areas in Sweden — This is a list of urban areas in Sweden, in alphabetical order, as defined by Statistics Sweden (Statistics Sweden uses the term locality instead of urban area) as of December 31, 2005. [ [http://www.scb.se/templates/Product 13003.asp Statistics… …   Wikipedia

  • Largest urban areas of Norway — This is a list of the largest urban areas of Norway by population.The population is measured by Statistics Norway. The statistics bureau uses the term tettsted (urban settlement or urban area), which is defined as a contiguous built up area with… …   Wikipedia

  • List of metropolitan areas in Sweden — Sweden has three Metropolitan Areas consisting of the areas surrounding the three largest cities, Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. The statistics is retrieved from Statistics Sweden and the statistics released September 30 2011. [1] Contents 1… …   Wikipedia

  • List of urban areas in Norway by population — This is a list of continuously built up areas in Norway by population, with population numbers as of January 1, 2008.Statistics Norway, who measures the population, uses the term tettsted (urban settlement or urban area), which is defined as a… …   Wikipedia

  • Urban area — Built up area redirects here. For use of the term in the United Kingdom Highway Code, see Built up area (Highway Code). Urban zone redirects here. For other uses, see Urban zone (disambiguation). Urban region redirects here. For an area in… …   Wikipedia

  • Sweden — This article is about the country. For other uses, see Sweden (disambiguation). Kingdom of Sweden Konungariket Sverige …   Wikipedia

  • urban planning — n. the study or profession dealing with the growth and functioning of cities and towns, including environmental concerns, zoning, the infrastructure, etc. urban planner n. * * * Programs pursued as a means of improving the urban environment and… …   Universalium

  • Sweden — /sweed n/, n. a kingdom in N Europe, in the E part of the Scandinavian Peninsula. 8,946,193; 173,732 sq. mi. (449,964 sq. km). Cap.: Stockholm. Swedish, Sverige. * * * Sweden Introduction Sweden Background: A military power during the 17th… …   Universalium

  • Urban renewal — For other uses, see Urban renewal (disambiguation). Melbourne Docklands urban renewal project, a transformation of a large disused docks into a new residential and commercial precinct for 25,000 people …   Wikipedia

  • Sweden — <p></p> <p></p> Introduction ::Sweden <p></p> Background: <p></p> A military power during the 17th century, Sweden has not participated in any war for almost two centuries. An armed neutrality was… …   The World Factbook

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.