State of the Nordic Region 2018: Stockholm the most dynamic Nordic region

Stockholm comes out first in the Nordregio Regional Potential Index produced as part of the new State of the Nordic Region report. The State of the Nordic Region was last issued in 2016, where the Oslo region came out on top. In 2018, Oslo has dropped to third place, overtaken by Copenhagen, but with Stockholm as the overall winner.

Stockholm comes out first in the Nordregio Regional Potential Index produced as part of the new State of the Nordic Region report. The State of the Nordic Region was last issued in 2016, where the Oslo region came out on top. In 2018, Oslo has dropped to third place, overtaken by Copenhagen, but with Stockholm as the overall winner.

This result reflects some of the developments mirrored in the overall report. Many Norwegian regions have dropped in the rankings partly due to the dropping oil prices and the ripple effects for the entire Norwegian economy, but also because of the general demographic development.

At the same we see Iceland and Faroe Islands performing very strongly, whereas Denmark and Sweden hold similar positions in the index as in 2016. Some Swedish regions outside of Stockholm show marked progress however, especially the Gothenburg area, just as many Norwegian regions are still performing strongly despite the overall drop.

Finland makes out the rearguard of the ranking, with the 13 lowest ranking regions all placed there, and Greenland is also struggling. Åland, on the other hand, is doing well, with almost full employment and a solid economy despite the oldest age structure of all the Nordics.

The index ranks the 74 administrative regions in the Nordic countries based on traditional standards for statistical comparisons. It measures values within demography, economy and the labour force, based on a system of points developed by Nordregio.

A few highlights from the report:

  • The Nordic population is growing and it is increasingly concentrated in urban settlements. The average age of the population is also increasing, while a growing share of people have a foreign background. All of these trends are expected to continue in the years to come.
  • The Nordic countries are generally performing well above the EU average when it comes to economic development, despite the ongoing impact of the economic crisis. From a macro-regional perspective, the Nordics constitute a very coherent region. Nevertheless, large and economically significant variations remain at the regional level.
  • Sweden boasts the highest employment rate in the EU while Iceland has the highest rate in all of Europe. High employment rates for women stand out and remains a basic feature of Nordic labour markets. Finland and Denmark have each seen their labour force diminish in absolute numbers since 2008, while Norway’s has stabilized.

The report is published by the Nordic Council of Ministers and produced by Nordregio, that has published this kind of Nordic value-added publications since the 1980s.


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