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, 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. 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 (stat.fi). 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 (ssb.no). 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 (eurostat.ec). 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||Stockholm||1,583,374||2,269,060||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.|
|2||Copenhagen||1,320,629||2,350,0001,928,612 (2013, latest available figure according to Eurostat's statistics on functional urban areas)||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).|
|3||Helsinki||1,231,595||1,490,142 ||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.|
|4||Oslo||1,000,467||1,588,4571,278,827 (Eurostat, 2013, latest available)||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.|
|5||Gothenburg||581,822||1,006,548 ||Municipality: 581,822. For the official statistical entity see Storgöteborg (Gothenburg Metropolitan Area).||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||Malmö||339,313||707,120 Approximately 1 million for all municipalities bordering Öresund's Swedish shores, and municipalities bordering to such a shore-municipality.
||Municipality: 328,494. For the official statistical entity Stormalmö (Malmö Metropolitan Area): 707,120 and for the Öresund Region circa 3,900,000||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||Tampere||334,112||440,372 ||Municipality: 217,767. Eurostats population size for Tampere is 369,525. Tampere is the most populous inland city in the Nordic countries.|
|8||Aarhus||273,077||845,971 ||Municipality: 340,421. Which is a part of the East Jylland region with a population of 1,279,492. Eurostats population size for Aarhus is 845,971.|
|10||Bergen||255,464||420,000395,338 (2013, Eurostat) ||Municipality: 267,150. Metropolitan area: 377,116.|
|11||Reykjavík||Capital of Iceland. Municipality: 128,793. The Greater Reykjavík area includes the neighbouring municipalities Kópavogur, Hafnarfjörður, Garðabær, Mosfellsbær, Seltjarnarnes and Kjósarhreppur. Note, no urban area is defined.|
||Municipality: 128,830. Metropolitan area: 297,569.|
|13||Oulu||200,400||258,241 ||Municipality: 191,237|
|14||Trondheim||183,378||264,396 ||Municipality: 180,280. Metropolitan area: 274,958.|
|15||Odense||178,210||485,672 ||Municipality: 213,558|
|16||Uppsala||168,096||253,704288,203 ||Municipality: 225,164|
|17||Aalborg||134,672||580,272 ||Includes Nørresundby; Municipality: 205,809|
|18||Jyväskylä||123,241||185,067 ||Municipality: 140,812|
|19||Lahti||119,068||191,460 ||Municipality: 103,187|
|20||Västerås||110,877||173,322195,675 ||Municipality: 137,207|
|21||Drammen||117,510||Includes the neighbouring municipality Nedre Eiker in its entirety, as well as parts of Øvre Eiker, Lier and Røyken.|
|22||Fredrikstad/Sarpsborg||111,267||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).|
|26||Porsgrunn/Skien||92,753||Includes the neighbouring municipalities of Porsgrunn and Skien in its entirety, as well as a part of Bamble.|
No metro area, part of Malmö/Lund/Trelleborg metro region
No independent area, part of Greater Stockholm
No independent area, part of Greater Stockholm
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 and 2018, the Danish data is from 2014, the Swedish is from 2010 and the Finnish is from 2017.
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.
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)'
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 docks.page=21