Stockholm and Oslo are two of the fastest growing cities in all of Europe. Of 150,000 new skilled workers, close to 90 percent choose Stockholm as their home. Actually Sweden as a country is growing, but most of all Stockholm. It is expected that the population of those in the employment age bracket—20 to 64—will increase more than 153,000 by the year 2020. And 87 percent of them choose to live in Stockholm.

“Population wise, Stockholm and Oslo are growing fastest in Europe now,” says Maria Rankka, managing director at Stockholm’s Chamber of Commerce (which also ordered the study by Stein Brothers AB).
“People like it in these cities and the climate for businesses is great.”
In the rest of Sweden, only the regions around Malmö and Göteborg can boast a population growth in the same age bracket, though it's nowhere near the expansion of Stockholm. Some mid-size cities, like Västerås and Norrköping, may also grow, but only marginally.

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“It is around the Baltic Sea that Europe is expanding, and that’s why Stockholm’s location is great. The size is favorable and people thrive,” says Rankka. A longer life span, higher birth rate, and immigration makes Sweden’s population as a whole grow faster than ever before. During the next five year period, it is estimated to add 421,000 people—the fastest growth ever. And the hub is the Stockholm region. “This puts demands on Stockholm. More jobs are needed, better communication, housing and all forms of service,” Rankka adds.

Chris Heister, governor of Stockholm, says the city is prepared: “According to the prognosis, the demand of man power will increase around 200,000 people until 2020 in the Stockholm region.” Three out of four jobs will require higher education. It is above all, sectors such as the IT industry that are crying out for skilled labor. Heister doesn’t believe Stockholm’s rapid growth is likely to impoverish the rest of Sweden. “Stockholm is Sweden’s engine, and makes up for a third of our GDP. What’s good for Stockholm is good for Sweden,” she says.

For a personal view of Stockholm, see the walkabout tours through Söder, Gamla Stan and Vasastan Walkabout Tour of Stockholm I (Gamla Stan)