Location: Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, Kattegat, and Skagerrak, between Finland and Norway.
The area is approximately 449,964 sq km (410,934 sq km land. 39,030 sq km water). Terrain is mostly flat to gently rolling lowlands. Mountains in west. Natural hazards are the ice floes in the surrounding waters, especially in the Gulf of Bothnia, which can interfere with maritime traffic. Climate is temperate in south with cold, cloudy winters and cool, partly cloudy summers. Subarctic in north.
Population: About 8,878,085 people live in Sweden.
An indigenous population: Swedes and Finnish and Sami minorities. Ethnic groups also include foreign-born or first-generation immigrants: Finns, Yugoslavs, Danes, Norwegians, Greeks, Turks. Main language spoken is Swedish. Also, small Lapp- and Finnish-speaking minorities.
Religious Denomination: Lutheran (87%), Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist.
Agriculture: Products include grains, sugar beets, potatoes, meat, and milk.
Economy: Aided by peace and neutrality for the whole twentieth 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 labor force. Timber, hydropower, and iron ore constitute the resource base of an economy heavily oriented toward foreign trade. In recent years, however, this extraordinarily favorable picture has been somewhat clouded by budgetary difficulties, high unemployment, and a gradual loss of competitiveness in international markets. Sweden has harmonized its economic policies with those of the EU, which it joined at the start of 1995.
Currency: Swedish krona (SEK).