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List of urban areas in the Nordic countries

The Stockholm urban area (in blue), the largest urban area in the Nordic countries. The area includes land both inside and outside of the municipality of Stockholm.

This is a list of urban areas in the Nordic countries by population. The population is measured on a national level, independently by each country's statistical bureau. Statistics Sweden uses the term tätort (urban settlement), Statistics Finland also uses tätort in Swedish and taajama in Finnish, Statistics Denmark uses byområde (city), while Statistics Norway uses tettsted (urban settlement).

A uniform statistical definition between the Nordic countries was agreed upon in 1960,[1] which defines an urban area as a continuous built-up area whose population is at least 200 inhabitants and where the maximum distance between residences is 200 metres; discounting roads, parking spaces, parks, sports grounds and cemeteries – without regard to the ward, municipal or county boundaries.[1][2] Despite the uniform definition, the various statistical bureaus have different approaches in conducting these measurements, resulting in slight variation between the different countries.[a]

Despite belonging to the Nordic countries, Iceland does not follow the same definition of "urban area" for statistical purposes. The Nordic definition is unique to the four other countries, and should not be confused with the international concepts of metropolitan area or urban areas in general. In 2010, Finland changed its definition ( This means that according to official statistics, the land area covered by urban areas is three times larger in Finland than in Norway though the total urban population is roughly the same ( It also means that while the population of Danish “byområder” is usually less than half of the population of the “functional urban area” defined by Eurostat, the population of a Finnish “tätort” is usually around 80% of the respective “functional urban area” defined by Eurostat. In 2013, the “functional urban area” of Aarhus thus had a population of 845,971 while the “functional urban area” of Tampere had a population of f 364,992. According to official statistics, however, the “tätort” Tampere is larger than the “byområde” Aarhus ( This suggests that direct comparison between Finland and the other Nordic countries may be problematic.


Rank City / urban settlement Urban area Metropolitan / Eurostat Functional Urban Area Notes Image
1 Sweden Stockholm 1,583,374 2,269,060[3][1] Capital of Sweden. Municipality: 932,917. The Stockholm urban area, Urban Stockholm, or Tätorten Stockholm as it is called in Swedish, consists of the municipalities of Stockholm, Solna and Sundbyberg, as well as parts of Botkyrka, Danderyd, Haninge, Huddinge, Järfälla, Nacka, Sollentuna, Tyresö municipalities. The metropolitan area is called Metropolitan Stockholm or Stor-Stockholm. Only "Innerstan", parts of Solna, Liljeholmen and the area around Stockholm Globe Arena can be described as city core, rather than suburb. Stockholm old town 2002.jpg
2 Denmark Copenhagen 1,320,629[4] 2,350,000[5][6]1,928,612 (2013, latest available figure according to Eurostat's statistics on functional urban areas)[2] Capital of Denmark. Municipality: 613,288 Statistics Denmark considers the City of Copenhagen (Byen København) to consist of the Municipality of Copenhagen. Including the fully surrounded Frederiksberg 735,000 at an area of 104 km2. The Copenhagen metropolitan area (Hovedstadsregionen) had a population of 2.6 million in 2018, while the Øresund Region had approximately 4 million. Copenhagen city core (including block build-up areas only) comprises most of the municipality's area but also includes entire Frederiksberg as well as good parts of Gentofte (Hellerup and Ordrup districts) and Tårnby (areas north of Copenhagen Airport). Kopenhagen Innenstadt.JPG
3 Finland Helsinki 1,231,595[7] 1,490,142 [3] Capital of Finland. Municipality: 650,058. The Helsinki urban area, or Helsingin keskustaajama as it is called in Finnish, is defined by Statistics Finland. It includes most of the neighbouring municipalities Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen, among others. The entire Greater Helsinki area has a population of 1,495,271. The city core is located on a peninsula and is slightly larger than that of Oslo. Suurkirkko Helsinki maaliskuu 2002 IMG 0629.JPG
4 Norway Oslo 1,000,467[8] 1,588,457[9][10]1,278,827 (Eurostat, 2013, latest available)[4] Capital of Norway. Municipality: 647,676. The very large area known as the Greater Oslo Region (metropolitan) area has a population of 1,546,706. Conurbation includes the neighbouring municipalities Bærum, Asker, Skedsmo, Lørenskog and Oppegård in their entirety, as well as parts of Røyken, Sørum, Nittedal, Rælingen and Ski. It is the fastest growing capital city in Europe.[11] 14-09-02-oslo-RalfR-271.jpg
5 Sweden Gothenburg 581,822 1,006,548 [5] Municipality: 581,822. For the official statistical entity see Storgöteborg (Gothenburg Metropolitan Area). Göteborg från Liseberg.jpg The city's core is located along the left side of Göta Älv, over a rather long, but not very, wide distance. To this comes the block areas from the city's commercial centre and a bit towards the south (Örgyte).
6 Sweden Malmö 339,313 707,120[3] Approximately 1 million for all municipalities bordering Öresund's Swedish shores, and municipalities bordering to such a shore-municipality.

Eurostat: 658,050, 2017. [6]

Municipality: 328,494. For the official statistical entity Stormalmö (Malmö Metropolitan Area): 707,120 and for the Öresund Region circa 3,900,000[12] Malmo view2.jpg The statistical area isn't decided locally nor regionally. The population along the Swedish side of Öresund, in principle Malmö+Helsingborg metropolitan areas, counts around to a million people (from Trelleborg to Ängelholm North to South, and Eastwards to Åstorp, Eslöv and Svedala) and 120 km size. Malmö's city core is close to equal the municipality, though a bit smaller.
7 Finland Tampere 334,112[7] 440,372 [7] Municipality: 217,767. Eurostats population size for Tampere is 369,525.[13] Tampere is the most populous inland city in the Nordic countries. Downtown Tampere1.jpg
8 Denmark Aarhus 273,077[14] 845,971 [8] Municipality: 340,421.[15] Which is a part of the East Jylland region with a population of 1,279,492. Eurostats population size for Aarhus is 845,971.[13] Århus city trafikhavn.jpg
9 Finland Turku 272,230[7] 315,751[16] Municipality: 180,546. View of Aura River in Turku.jpg
10 Norway Bergen 255,464[8] 420,000[citation needed]395,338 (2013, Eurostat) [9] Municipality: 267,150. Metropolitan area: 377,116. Bergen-Fløibanen-view.jpg
11 Iceland Reykjavík


Capital of Iceland. Municipality: 128,793. The Greater Reykjavík area includes the neighbouring municipalities Kópavogur, Hafnarfjörður, Garðabær, Mosfellsbær, Seltjarnarnes and Kjósarhreppur.[17] Note, no urban area is defined. Reykjavík séð úr Hallgrímskirkju 6.JPG
12 Norway Stavanger/Sandnes 222,697[8] 319,822 [10]
Municipality: 128,830. Metropolitan area: 297,569.

Conurbation includes the neighbouring municipalities Sandnes, Randaberg and Sola.

13 Finland Oulu 200,400[7] 258,241 [11] Municipality: 191,237 Tuira.jpg
14 Norway Trondheim 183,378[8] 264,396 [12] Municipality: 180,280. Metropolitan area: 274,958. 2010-08-04 - Trondheim - Nidarosdom 2 - panoramio - Edgar El.jpg
15 Denmark Odense 178,210[18] 485,672 [13] Municipality: 213,558 Odense Rathaus und Dom.JPG
16 Sweden Uppsala 168,096 253,704[19]288,203 [14] Municipality: 225,164 Uppsala Church and city centre.jpg
17 Denmark Aalborg 134,672[18] 580,272 [15] Includes Nørresundby; Municipality: 205,809 Aalborg 2010 - 100 ubt.JPG
18 Finland Jyväskylä 123,241[7] 185,067 [16] Municipality: 140,812 Jyvaskyla centrum.jpg
19 Finland Lahti 119,068[7] 191,460 [17] Municipality: 103,187 Lahti centre.JPG
20 Sweden Västerås 110,877 173,322[19]195,675 [18] Municipality: 137,207 3000' ovanför Västerås.jpg
21 Norway Drammen 117,510[8] Includes the neighbouring municipality Nedre Eiker in its entirety, as well as parts of Øvre Eiker, Lier and Røyken. MG Drammenselven og Union Brygge.JPG
22 Norway Fredrikstad/Sarpsborg 111,267[20] Fredrikstad with 61,264 inhabitants and Sarpsborg with 44,281 have grown together, to form an urban area known as "Nedre Glommaregionen" (the Lower Glomma Region – The cities are placed along the outlet of the river Glomma, hence the name). Fredrikstad bryggepromenade fra Kråkerøybroa.JPG
23 Sweden Örebro 107,038 208,241[19] Municipality: 135,460 Örebro, Stortorget.jpg
24 Sweden Linköping 104,232 177,308[19] Municipality: 146,416 Linköping.jpg
25 Sweden Helsingborg 97,122 272,873[19] Municipality: 129,177 Helsingborg view.jpg
26 Norway Porsgrunn/Skien 92,753[20] Includes the neighbouring municipalities of Porsgrunn and Skien in its entirety, as well as a part of Bamble. Hjellevannet.JPG
27 Sweden Jönköping 89,396 Municipality: 127,382 Jönköping from Stadsparken.JPG
28 Finland Kuopio 88,520[7] 167,753[19] Municipality: 105,229 Kuopio, Finland from Puijo tower.jpg
29 Sweden Norrköping 87,247 183,100[19] Municipality: 130,050 Dalsgatan Norrköping april 2005.jpg
30 Finland Pori 84,190[7] Municipality: 83,473 Pori, the river Kokemäki and the central city..jpg
31 Sweden Lund 82,800 Municipality: 110,488

No metro area, part of Malmö/Lund/Trelleborg metro region[19]

Stortorget lund 080508.jpg
32 Sweden Umeå 79,594 Municipality: 115,473 Umeå Blick auf Innenstadt mit Scandic-Hotel u. Stads kyrka.JPG
33 Denmark Esbjerg 72,398 Municipality: 116,032 Esbjerg fra oven.jpg
34 Sweden Gävle 71,033 184,346[19] Municipality: 95,055

Metropolitan area together with Sandviken[19]

Gävle-Gamla Stan 2.JPG
35 Finland Joensuu 67,811[7] Municipality: 74,457 Joensuun pääkirkko.jpg
36 Finland Vaasa 67,690[7] Municipality: 66,401 Vaasa Trinity Church.jpg
37 Sweden Borås 66,273 Municipality: 103,294 Boras.jpg
38 Sweden Eskilstuna 64,679 209,028[19] Municipality: 96,311 Eskilstuna flygbild1js-1.jpg
39 Sweden Södertälje 64,619 - Municipality: 86,246

No independent area, part of Greater Stockholm[19]

Saltsjöbron,utsikt, Södertälje.jpg
40 Denmark Randers 62,687 Municipality: 98,265 Randers Old Town Hall.jpg
41 Sweden Karlstad 61,685 179,486[19] Municipality: 85,753 East bridge karlstad 20061022 001.jpg
42 Norway Kristiansand 61,536[20] Municipality: 88,320 Kvadraturen areal photo.png
43 Sweden Växjö 60,887 156.629[19] Municipality: 83,005 LA2-vx06-vaxjosjon2.jpg
44 Sweden Täby 61,272 - Municipality: 63,789

No independent area, part of Greater Stockholm

Täby Centrum (shopping center) 2009.jpg
45 Denmark Kolding 60,508 Municipality: 92,515 Kolding-centre.jpg
46 Sweden Halmstad 58,577 134,156[19] Municipality: 91,800 Hstd ctr-1.JPG
47 Denmark Vejle 56,567 Municipality: 114,140 Vejle-2004.jpg
48 Denmark Horsens 55,884 Municipality: 85,662 Horsens - gågaden.jpg
49 Finland Lappeenranta 55,743[7] Municipality: 72,748 Lap-ta 2.jpg
50 Finland Rovaniemi 52,753[7] Municipality: 61,166 Rovaniemi 06101999 rescanned.jpg
51 Finland Kotka 51,704[7] Municipality: 54,845 Kotkansaari1.jpg
52 Sweden Sundsvall 50,712 125,812[19] Municipality: 96,977 Sundsvall in Sweden from above.jpg

Note that the population numbers from the different countries are from different years, as Statistics Finland, Statistics Norway and Statistics Denmark release the statistic yearly (albeit at different times of the year), Statistics Sweden only release the figures every five years. The Norwegian data is from 2013[20] and 2018,[8] the Danish data is from 2014,[21] the Swedish is from 2010[22] and the Finnish is from 2017.[7]

Also note that some of the statistics have been updated since the first note was made, so some statistics may be from 2018, while others from 2013, etc.

See also


  1. ^ For example, Statistics Finland utilizes a 62,500 square metres (673,000 sq ft) grid system for analyzing population, resulting in slight measurement differences between it and the other Nordic statistical bureaus.
  2. ^ Iceland does not adhere to the common Nordic definition for an urban area, so this figure is inaccurate for comparative purposes.


  1. ^ a b "Nationalencyklopedin - Tätort". Nationalencyklopedin. Retrieved 21 July 2014. Translation: 'a for the Nordic countries shared statistical definition of built-up area with at least 200 residents, not more than 200 m between each other (without regard to the ward, municipal or county boundaries)'
  2. ^ "Localities 2010: Population, age and gender" (PDF) (in Swedish and English). Statistics Sweden. Retrieved 21 July 2014. A densely built area includes any cluster of buildings with at least 200 inhabitants, unless the distance between the houses exceeds 200 metres. However, the distance may exceed 200 metres if the cluster of buildings is situated within the area of influence of a larger locality. [...] Even if the distance between buildings exceeds 200 metres, the locality should not be divided if the area between the buildings is used for public purposes such as roads, parking spaces, parks, sports grounds and cemeteries. The same applies to undeveloped areas such as storage sites, railways and
  3. ^ a b "Folkmängden efter region, civilstånd, ålder och kön. År 1968 - 201" (in Swedish). Statistikmyndigheten SCB. Retrieved 22 December 2017.[dead link]
  4. ^ "BY1: Population 1. January by urban, rural areas, age and sex".
  5. ^ OECD: Territorial Review Copenhagen, 2009, p. 34, ISBN 9789264060029
  6. ^ also obtainable through OECD
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Urban settlements by population and population density, 31 Dec 2017
  8. ^ a b c d e f Population and land area in urban settlements, December 2018
  9. ^ regionaldepartementet, Kommunal- og (2003-05-09). "St.meld. nr. 31 (2002-2003)". (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2017-12-22.
  10. ^ "Folketalet ved nyttår var 5 258 000". (in Norwegian Nynorsk). Retrieved 2017-12-22.
  11. ^ Savage, Maddy (18 July 2018). "Oslo's rapid growth redefines Nordic identity" – via
  12. ^ "Befolkning – Øresundsinstituttet".
  13. ^ a b []
  14. ^ "Statistikbanken".
  15. ^ "Statistikbanken".
  16. ^ "Seutukuntien ennakkoväkiluku alueittain, elokuu 2013". Tiedote (in Finnish). Statistics Finland (Tilastokeskus). 31 August 2013. Archived from the original on 27 June 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
  17. ^ a b "Population by municipalities, sex and age 1 January 1998-2019 - Current municipalities". Statistics Iceland. 1 January 2019. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  18. ^ a b "Population 1. January by urban, rural areas (DISCONTINUED) - StatBank Denmark - data and statistics".
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "table". Retrieved 2017-12-22.
  20. ^ a b c d Citypopulation Norway Archived 2012-11-20 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ "Denmark: Regions, Municipalities, Cities and Urban Areas - Population Statistics in Maps and Charts".
  22. ^ "Sweden: Counties, Cities, Municipalities, Settlements and Metropolitan Areas - Population Statistics in Maps and Charts".