Sweden

 

A military power during the 17th century, Sweden has not participated in any war in almost two centuries. Armed neutrality was preserved in both World Wars. Sweden’s long-successful economic formula of a capitalist system interlarded with substantial welfare elements was challenged in the 1990s by high unemployment and in 2000-02 by the global economic downturn, but fiscal discipline over the past several years has allowed the country to weather economic vagaries. Sweden joined the EU in 1995, but the public rejected the introduction of the euro in a 2003 referendum.

 

Geography:
Location: Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, Kattegat, and Skagerrak, between Finland and Norway
Geographic coordinates: 62 00 N, 15 00 E
People:
Population: 9,103,788 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 15.4% (male 722,558/female 680,933)

15-64 years: 64.8% (male 2,982,268/female 2,910,135)

65 years and over: 19.7% (male 800,169/female 992,665) (2011 est.)

Government:
Country name: conventional long form: Kingdom of Sweden

conventional short form: Sweden

local long form: Konungariket Sverige

local short form: Sverige

Government type: constitutional monarchy
Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 5.014 million (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 10.65 million (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 230 (2012)

Airports – with paved runways: total: 149

over 3,047 m: 3

2,438 to 3,047 m: 12

1,524 to 2,437 m: 74

914 to 1,523 m: 23

under 914 m: 37 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: Swedish Armed Forces (Forsvarsmakten): Army (Armen), Royal Swedish Navy (Marinen), Swedish Air Force (Svenska Flygvapnet) (2010)
Military service age and obligation: 18-47 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; service obligation: 7.5 months (Army), 7-15 months (Navy), 8-12 months (Air Force); the Swedish Parliament has abolished compulsory military service, with exclusively voluntary recruitment as of July 2010; conscription remains an option in emergencies; after completing initial service, soldiers have a reserve commitment until age 47 (2010)

Economy:

Aided by peace and neutrality for the whole of the 20th century, Sweden has achieved an enviable standard of living under a mixed system of high-tech capitalism and extensive welfare benefits. It has a modern distribution system, excellent internal and external communications, and a skilled labour force. Timber, hydropower, and iron ore constitute the resource base of an economy heavily oriented toward foreign trade. Privately owned firms account for about 90% of industrial output, of which the engineering sector accounts for 50% of output and exports.

 

Agriculture accounts for only 1% of GDP and 2% of employment. Sweden is in the midst of a sustained economic upswing, boosted by increased domestic demand and strong exports. This and robust finances have offered the center-right government considerable scope to implement its reform program aimed at increasing employment, reducing welfare dependence, and streamlining the state’s role in the economy. The government plans to sell $31 billion in state assets during the next three years to further stimulate growth and raise revenue to pay down the federal debt. In September 2003, Swedish voters turned down entry into the euro system concerned about the impact on the economy and sovereignty.