Population, society and rights
The population is made up mainly of Swedes (81%) and Finns (5%). In addition to the Sami – a small indigenous community living in the Arctic region – Sweden, which after the Second World War became a country of massive immigration, hosts numerous communities from neighboring countries, but also from Greece, Turkey, the former Yugoslavia and, to a lesser extent, from Iran and Iraq. The country welcomes 92,872 refugees mainly from Iraq, the Balkans, Iran and Afghanistan. Some estimates calculated in 2012 that nearly 20% of the population was made up of people born abroad. More than 80% of Swedes live in the southern part of the country, mostly in urban areas. The population grew by 0.49% between 2005 and 2010 (in 2013 it maintained a rate of 0.8%), while 25% of the population is over 60. TheSwedish welfare is very advanced: the national health system covers all residents and the country spends around 7.9% of GDP on health; the school system, mainly public (only 2% of students attend private schools), offers a good quality education and in 2011 it was allocated 6.2% of the national GDP. The Swedish government also invests around 3.37% in research and development, particularly in the field of science and technology. Sweden is one of the first countries in the world for the spread of the Internet (96.76% in 2012). Since 2006, the Pirate Party has also intervened on the political scene, which has made the freedom of exchanging content on the Internet its strong point and managed to obtain a seat in the European parliament in the 2009 elections. Sweden is in seventh place. world according to the index of gender inequality: in the current parliament 157 seats out of 349 are held by women. The Swedish state has also recognized marriage and adoptions by same-sex couples since 2003. For Sweden society, please check homosociety.com.
Economy and energy
The Swedish per capita GDP is quite high ($ 42,624 in 2014), well above the European average, as is also the case in the other Scandinavian countries. Living standards are also impressive, with the country ranking 12th on the UN Human Development Index ranking. Sweden has traditionally been characterized by an open market economy, accompanied by a high level of social spending. However, Swedish welfare has already been under review and reform since the 1990s, first by the social democratic executives, then, to a greater extent, by the center-right government, through the containment of the tax burden on businesses, the facilitation of assumptions and the reduction of the benefits envisaged by the welfare. Following the reconfirmation in the 2010 elections, the center-right coalition had therefore aimed to reduce the weight and presence of the state in the economy, proceeding with privatization and liberalization. The public sector in Sweden, however, continues to play a key role. The new social-democratic government will necessarily have to mediate with the instances of the central parties in order to govern, and an approach is therefore foreseeable that combines the maintenance of public spending with some new liberalizations in the economic sphere.
Although agriculture accounts for only 1.5% of GDP, domestic production, thanks to very high productivity rates, manages to cover 80% of the national food needs. The country also has significant natural resources: Sweden is a large producer of iron and sulphide and, as half of the territory is covered by forests, the paper and timber industries are key sectors of the economy (12% of the value added in the 2008). In the course of the twentieth century, and particularly in the nineties, the traditional low value-added enterprises of iron and forest products have made significant progress, thanks to a significant development in the field of information and communication technologies.
Although the country was hit by the global crisis, as evidenced by the decrease in GDP by five percentage points in 2009, the Swedish economy started to grow again from the following year, reaching growth rates of around 4% in 2011. -12. In 2013, on the other hand, a decrease in internal and external demand slowed the recovery (+ 0.9%), but in 2014 the growth returned to above 2%.
The oil crisis of the seventies and a high sensitivity on environmental issues led the country to focus on an energy policy aimed at reducing dependence on oil imports and encouraging nuclear and renewables (mainly hydroelectric and biomass), which today satisfy the two thirds of the household needs. The national medium- and long-term energy strategy envisages a gradual elimination of the use of fossil fuels, while the future of nuclear power – which should have been reduced on the basis of a 1980 referendum – is uncertain. Current energy imports cover only a third of primary consumption and are sufficiently diversified, with the exception of gas, which comes only from Denmark, through the pipeline that connects the two countries.