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Land use in proximity to shoreline Land use in proximity to shoreline, populated islands without a mainland connection by bridge, 2020

93 000 inhabitants on islands without mainland connection

Statistical news from Statistics Sweden 2022-08-30 8.00

There are permanent residents on more than 500 Swedish islands that do not have a mainland connection by bridge. Most of these islands are located in Sweden’s coastal areas. In the period from 2010 to 2020, the number of islands without a bridge connection decreased by 37 islands. At the same period, the number of residents on these islands have increased by nearly 4,000 persons.

Most populated islands without a mainland connection are in marine water. According to the statistics of 2020, 87 percent are in marine water and 13 percent in inland water.

At the end of 2020, Stockholm County accounted for the largest number of populated islands without a mainland connection; there were 236 islands in total. This is followed by Västra Götaland County, Östergötland County, and Kalmar County. All 21 counties in Sweden had at least 1 populated island with no mainland connection.

Number of islands without a mainland connection by bridge and with persons registered in the population, per county, 2020-12-31

Number of islands without a mainland connection by bridge and with persons registered in the population, per county, 2018-12-31

Reduced number of populated islands without a mainland connection

In the period from 2010 to 2020, the number of populated islands without a mainland connection decreased by 37 islands. The largest decrease, with 11 islands, was in Stockholm County. This is followed by Västra Götaland County, where the decrease was 7 islands, and Kalmar County, where the decrease was 6 islands.

The largest increase of populated islands was in Norrbotten County, where the number increased by 4 islands. The number of populated islands also increased in the counties of Blekinge, Kronoberg, Jönköping and Gotland.

Population change on islands without a mainland connection by bridge, by county, 2010 to 2020

Population change on islands without a mainland connection by bridge, by county, 2010 to 2020

Increase of population

Gotland County has the largest increase of population living on islands without a mainland connection. This is a county that consists entirely of islands without mainland connections. From 2010 to 2020, the county’s population increased by nearly 3,000 persons.

The counties of Stockholm och Västra Götaland have many islands in both marine and inland waters. In combination with locations close to metropolitan areas, it provides high population numbers for islands without a mainland connection. At the end of 2020, almost 20,000 of Västra Götaland County's population lived on islands without a mainland connection. This is an increase of almost 490 persons since 2010. In Stockholm County, almost 9,000 persons lived on islands without a mainland connection. The number increased by almost 580 people from 2010 to 2020.

In most counties, the population on islands without a mainland connection has decreased from 2010 to 2020. The largest decrease is in Uppsala County, which had about 60 fewer residents on islands in 2020 compared to 2010. This is followed by Östergötland County, where the island population decreased by 55 persons during the same period.

Population on islands without a mainland connection by bridge, by county, 2020

Population on islands without a mainland connection by bridge, by county, 2020

Population changes on islands without a mainland connection by bridge, by county, 2010 to 2020

Population changes on islands without a mainland connection by bridge, by county, 2010 to 2020

More than 400 islands have fewer than 10 residents

Most of Sweden’s populated islands without a mainland connection have a very small population. Among all the 541 populated islands without a mainland connection, 411 islands had fewer than 10 residents at the end of 2020.

The islands with the largest population were located mainly in Göteborg municipality, Öckerö municipality and in Stockholm County. However, Gotland municipality tops the list.

Islands without mainland connection by bridge, the 10 largest islands by population, 2010 and 2020
Island area Municipality 2010 2020 Change in population
2010 to 2020
Gotland Gotland 56 718 59 625 2 907
Hönö Öckerö 5 119 5 555 436
Öckerö Öckerö 3 494 3 570 76
Ljusterö Österåker 1 487 1 663 176
Donsö Göteborg 1 407 1 551 144
Björkö Öckerö 1 485 1 533 48
Rindö Vaxholm 1 072 1 522 450
Styrsö Göteborg 1 342 1 341 ‑1
Brännö och Galterö Göteborg 800 940 140
Adelsön Ekerö 764 774 10

Definitions and explanations

The statistics only refer to islands in Sweden that do not have a mainland connection by bridge or tunnel and had permanent residents in the reference years 2010 or 2020.

Feel free to use the facts from this statistical news but remember to state Source: Statistics Sweden.

Statistical agency and producer

Statistics Sweden, Environmental accounts and Environment

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