Country profile

Sweden is a northern European country with 9.4 millions inhabitants. The country is divided into 21 counties with their own administrative boards. The counties are further divided into a total of 290 municipalities. The healthcare system is mostly government-funded and governance is highly decentralized. The system is financed through county and municipal-level tax.

With its highly developed economy, Sweden was ranked number nine in the UN’s Human Development Index in 2010. Furthermore, the same year the World Economic Forum ranked Sweden as the second most competitive country in the world. In 1995 Sweden became part of the EU, although not in the Euro. Sweden is has a largely developed welfare state wit a high level of redistribution.


Policy responses

Health inequalities are being addressed at different governmental levels in Sweden, and the overall goal – across all ministries and sectors – is to achieve societal conditions for a good health for all on equal conditions. This is the exact aim of the current national Renewed Public Health Policy, which thus aims to tackle the gradient across society.

The Swedish government started its work to formulate goals to reduce health inequalities – in an explicit manner – during the mid 90s. Nowadays health inequalities are being addressed from a broad social determinants point of view and a wide cross-sectoral collaboration has been put in place. What could happen in the future is that the Swedish Government will move away from this general approach, and will put in place a more targeted focus by, for example, addressing health inequality issues among specific vulnerable groups, or by addressing particular areas of health inequalities such as access to care. There will thus be less of a focus on the broader determinants. Also, when cross-sectoral collaborations are set up there will be fewer sectors involved in order to have more effective dialogues.

An overview of policy responses addressing health inequalities in can be found in our Policy Database.


Good practices

An overview of projects and initiatives that are currently taking place or that have successfully been finalized, and that are addressing health inequality issues, can be found in our Project Database.

Key actors

Please find below an overview of key actors in Sweden working on health inequality issues:

Are you aware of any other key actors that should be added to this list?
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Key resources

Please find below an overview of relevant documents addressing health inequality issues in Sweden. Further publications can be found in our Publications Database.

  • FRUSAM (2009 -2010) The project adopts a clear position and acknowledges a sustainability-based approach to reducing health inequalities.


Are you aware of any other key resources that should be added to this list?
Please let us know!

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