Skåne here and now

Skåne is both multifaceted and contradictory. The region has the highest unemployment level in Sweden, but it also have strong growth in employment. Never have so many people in Skåne been employed as now. Skåne has a large percentage of highly-educated residents, but have an increasing percentage of students who finish compulsory school with very poor results.

These paradoxes reflect Skåne’s current position, here and now. Following are a selection of facts based on the OECD’s review of Skåne together with comprehensive material and published reports and statistics, The underlying reports and source material can be found at Skåne has significant strengths, but also faces major challenges.

Skåne has a young, varied and growing population

  •  Skåne has a relatively young population, mostly due to the immigration of people from overseas.
  •  Almost one fifth of Skåne’s population was born overseas, with their roots in no fewer than 193 countries.
  •  Skåne is growing by the equivalent of a new city of Lund every ten years.
  •  Skåne’s population is increasing in all parts of the region, with the fastest increase in the south-west.
  • Of Skåne’s slightly more than 1.3 million inhabitants, 11 percent live outside urban areas, which is lower than the national average of 15 percent.

Many of our residents are living longer

  • The percentage of elderly people is increasing while more children are being born and the population is living longer.
  • Despite this, the burden of support in Skåne is low as we have a favourable demographic structure, although employment is not as high as in other Swedish counties.
  • Differences in average life expectancy are increasing.
  • When people assess their own quality of life, the figure is higher in Skåne than in the rest of Sweden.

Skåne’s inhabitants are becoming healthier but many are not doing well

  • General health – such as measured in increased life expectancy and falling mortality – is improving steadily.
  • In Skåne, there are large differences in health associated with level of education, employment, living environment, gender, ethnicity, living conditions and habits.
  • Mental ill health is increasing, among both young men ad young women, but the consequences vary between the sexes.

Sweden is tolerant, but intolerance is greater in Skåne than in the rest of the country

  • Value surveys show that intolerance is high, primarily among less educated men.
  • Skåne is associated to a greater extent with words such as xenophobia, traditional and pleasant, and to a lesser extent with words such as safe and tolerant.
  • The Öresund Region is considered to have high international renown, but is also associated with less openness, integration problems and high crime levels.

The level of education in Skåne is high, while too few qualify for secondary school

  • Skåne has many inhabitants with only compulsory school education.
  • Skåne is ranked 18 among the 21 counties in Sweden as regards the percentage eligible for secondary school. However, of those who do get into secondary school, many continue into higher education.
  • Skåne has the third highest transition frequency from secondary school to higher education in Sweden, with Skåne’s universities and colleges generating 15 percent of the country’s new graduates.
  • Gender differences are increasing in the field of education; almost two-thirds of all students at university/college are female.

Too few are in work, even if demand for employees is great

  • Employment in Skåne has generally increased, but is overwhelmed by even greater population growth.
  • Employment among youths is about 20–30 percent lower than overall employment.
  • Historically, Skåne has had low employment figures and in recent years has had the lowest employment rate of all counties in Sweden.
  • If all residents in Skåne who were born in a country outside the Nordic region had the same employment rate as those born in Sweden, employment in Skåne would be greater than the national average.
  • Men have a higher employment rate than women and women work more unpaid hours than men.
  • Between 2009 and 2020, the total demand for employees in Skåne is expected to increase by 8 percent, but demand for people with only compulsory education is expected to fall by 23 percent.
  • Growth in employment is driven primarily by existing companies.
  • Four-in-five among Skåne’s inhabitants are members of an association or club, which is the same as for the country as a whole. Voluntary work in Skåne amounts to about 52,000 full-time positions each year.

Skåne has a two-pronged labor market

  • In principle, Skåne today has two labour market regions: Malmö/Lund/Helsingborg and Hässleholm/Kristianstad, with poor mobility within and between them.
  • South-west Skåne dominates development with positive employment rate growth, while employment in north-east Skåne is falling.
  • Skåne’s labour market is also split according to gender, with women concentrated to a smaller number of professions in the public sector while the male labour market is spread over a larger number of professions and represents a large part of the private sector.
  • Unemployment among those born overseas and youth stands out, with already high unemployment levels increasing.
  • Start-ups are dominated by men: in Skåne, as in the rest of the country, only a third of new businesses are started by women.

Skåne exhibits strong innovation but needs more viable and growing companies

  • Skåne distinguishes itself as an innovative region as regards investments in research, development and patents and has moved towards a more knowledge-based business structure.
  • During the period 1998–2009, start-ups in Skåne increased by 100 percent, compared to 75 percent for the country as a whole.
  • Innovation needs to be encouraged, within both specialist knowledge-based companies and more traditional trade and industry.

Skåne has low productivity and taxable capacity

  • Compared to the rest of Sweden, Skåne has low productivity: Skåne’s share of Sweden’s productivity is unchanged despite population increases and more job opportunities.
  • Several important industries in Skåne, such as construction and plant, retail, hotel and restaurants and trans port, still exhibit relatively low productivity. Parallel to this, these industries employ many less educated people.
  • Skåne’s traditional strength areas – foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and IT/telecom – have seen worrying development in recent years.
  • Average taxable capacity in Skåne is 92.7 percent, providing fifteenth place among Sweden’s 21 regions/ county councils. The differences between Skåne’s municipalities are large.

Skåne has low growth

  • Skåne exhibits weak growth in gross regional product (GRP) per inhabitant and generally has a low level in relation to the other conurbations and the country as a whole.
  • Skåne has low growth per employee.
  • Skåne has relatively low exports compared to other regions.
  • Skåne’s GRP could be increased by SEK 55 billion, or + 13 percent, if Skåne reached the national employment and productivity averages.

Skåne has a polycentric urban structure that is unique in Sweden

  • With its towns and almost 250 smaller urban areas, Skåne has a much greater urban density than any other part of Sweden, providing close proximity and high accessibility.
  • The polycentric and dense urban structure results in commuter patterns that differ from other conurbations and Skåne does not have traditional suburbs.
  • Skåne’s eight regional hubs – Malmö, Lund, Helsingborg, Landskrona, Kristianstad, Hässleholm, Ystad and Trelleborg – are all important to Skåne’s development.
  • Housing construction has not matched the immense population increase and there is currently a lack of housing in large parts of Skåne.

Skåne is the link to the continent, but integration in the Öresund Region has lost momentum

  • As a part of the Öresund Region, Skåne has high international accessibility.
  • The integration process in the Öresund Region has progressed since the Öresund Bridge opened, but has lost momentum in recent years; commuting is decreasing and many Danes are moving back to Denmark.
  • Legal, tax and regulatory obstacles to cross-border mobility mean poorer opportunities for employers on both sides of the strait to find the right expertise while employees hesitate to look for work across the border.

Skåne is a transit region and more investments in communications are needed

  • Throughout the 2000s, transport in Skåne has increased by road, rail and sea.
  • Skåne has extensive through traffic and traffic is expected to increase greatly, not least when the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link between Denmark and Germany opens in 2021.
  • The Swedish Transport Administration’s capacity study shows serious shortcomings and congestion in Skåne.
  • Compared to other counties/regions, Skåne’s inhabitants contribute most in the entire country to infrastructure, that is, the percentage of joint financing from regions and municipalities for infrastructure is highest here.
  • Skåne’s transport system is 94-percent fossil-fuel dependent.

Skåne has beautiful natural surroundings and Europe’s best farmland

  • Skåne is the part of Sweden with the most types of landscape and the most fertile farmlands and forests.
  • Skåne has the lowest percentage of land with the right to roam in Sweden and almost half of Skåne’s land area comprises farmland.
  • Skåne stands for about half of Sweden’s food production and slightly more than a fifth of the country’s employ ment in the food industry while Skåne has the lowest percentage of organically-cultivated land area compared to the country as a whole.
  • Skåne cultivates a considerably larger share of its farmland than the rest of Sweden.
  • Skåne has a widely-varied landscape with close proximity to the sea, shorelines, forests, plains and lakes, as well as many cities, towns and rural areas.
  • Skåne has three national parks, 272 nature reserves and one culture reserve. This means that 3.6 percent of the land area and 7 percent of the marine environment enjoy long-term protection.

Skåne faces major environmental challenges

  • Skåne is not expected to fulfil the national environmental goals by the year 2020.
  • Emissions of greenhouse gases are still a major challenge for Skåne to manage, despite an already relatively large reduction relative to the rest of Sweden in recent years.
  • Skåne has low electricity production compared to the rest of Sweden and consumes more electricity than is produced locally. Energy consumption is, however, lower in Skåne than nationally.
  • The coastline and seas are affected by erosion, declining shore fisheries and competing interests in sea areas. Eutrophication, an excessive build-up of nutrients, is one of the largest environmental problems in the waters of Skåne.
  • In Skåne, about one thousand premature deaths are caused annually by air pollution, with vehicle traffic as the primary source. These emissions also harm nature, materials and cultural environments.
  • Skåne has the largest number of plant and animal species in Sweden, but also has the largest number of extinctions. Biodiversity is under threat.
  • Increased consumption and use of chemicals in society increases the burden on the environment and health.
  • In Skåne, conflicts between land use for development and the preservation of natural and cultural values are tangible, especially as regards farmland.