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last updated: October 5, 2005


Stockholm is the capital city of Sweden and the centre of an urban region with a population of approximately 1.7 million people, one-fifth of the country's total population. The region also provides one-fifth of total employment and almost a quarter of the gross national product. Its socio-economic structure is polarised, although the average income level is high; compared with the country total, Stockholm has a larger share of both high and low income households.

The Stockholm economy is growing faster than that of the rest of Sweden. Service production outweighs manufacturing, the latter accounting for about 10 per cent of total employment. Electronic industries, and firms associated with the 'new economy', play an essential role in the present industrial growth. Since 1945 almost all new housing construction and population growth in the Stockholm area has taken place outside the core parts of the city.

In the 1960s, two important developments which shaped the features of modern Stockholm took place. Firstly, inner city neighbourhoods were heavily restructured in nearly all Swedish cities, Stockholm being no exception. Secondly, the state launched its Million Programme (MP) in 1965 with the aim to construct one million new dwelling units in Sweden over the following decade. The MP involved mixed housing types and tenure forms but it meant a radical shift in the geography of housing in many Swedish cities. New areas for home ownership as well as large rental-dominated housing estates were built in the periphery of the urban region. Many of these estates ran into problems from the very first years of their existence. They were regarded to be less attractive for a number of reasons and very early on they experienced problems with empty flats, social disorder, a high turnover and bad reputation. In the metropolitan regions several of these estates now have a majority of residents born abroad.