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   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.  
2   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).  
3   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.  
4   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]  
5   Gothenburg 581,822 1,006,548 [5] 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[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]   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[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.  
8   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]  
9   Turku 272,230[7] 315,751[16] Municipality: 180,546.  
10   Bergen 255,464[8] 420,000[citation needed]395,338 (2013, Eurostat) [9] 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.[17] Note, no urban area is defined.  
12   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   Oulu 200,400[7] 258,241 [11] Municipality: 191,237  
14   Trondheim 183,378[8] 264,396 [12] Municipality: 180,280. Metropolitan area: 274,958.  
15   Odense 178,210[18] 485,672 [13] Municipality: 213,558  
16   Uppsala 168,096 253,704[19]288,203 [14] Municipality: 225,164  
17   Aalborg 134,672[18] 580,272 [15] Includes Nørresundby; Municipality: 205,809  
18   Jyväskylä 123,241[7] 185,067 [16] Municipality: 140,812  
19   Lahti 119,068[7] 191,460 [17] Municipality: 103,187  
20   Västerås 110,877 173,322[19]195,675 [18] Municipality: 137,207  
21   Drammen 117,510[8] Includes the neighbouring municipality Nedre Eiker in its entirety, as well as parts of Øvre Eiker, Lier and Røyken.  
22   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).  
23   Örebro 107,038 208,241[19] Municipality: 135,460  
24   Linköping 104,232 177,308[19] Municipality: 146,416  
25   Helsingborg 97,122 272,873[19] Municipality: 129,177  
26   Porsgrunn/Skien 92,753[20] Includes the neighbouring municipalities of Porsgrunn and Skien in its entirety, as well as a part of Bamble.  
27   Jönköping 89,396 Municipality: 127,382  
28   Kuopio 88,520[7] 167,753[19] Municipality: 105,229  
29   Norrköping 87,247 183,100[19] Municipality: 130,050  
30   Pori 84,190[7] Municipality: 83,473  
31   Lund 82,800 Municipality: 110,488

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

32   Umeå 79,594 Municipality: 115,473  
33   Esbjerg 72,398 Municipality: 116,032  
34   Gävle 71,033 184,346[19] Municipality: 95,055

Metropolitan area together with Sandviken[19]

35   Joensuu 67,811[7] Municipality: 74,457  
36   Vaasa 67,690[7] Municipality: 66,401  
37   Borås 66,273 Municipality: 103,294  
38   Eskilstuna 64,679 209,028[19] Municipality: 96,311  
39   Södertälje 64,619 - Municipality: 86,246

No independent area, part of Greater Stockholm[19]

40   Randers 62,687 Municipality: 98,265  
41   Karlstad 61,685 179,486[19] Municipality: 85,753  
42   Kristiansand 61,536[20] Municipality: 88,320  
43   Växjö 60,887 156.629[19] Municipality: 83,005  
44   Täby 61,272 - Municipality: 63,789

No independent area, part of Greater Stockholm

45   Kolding 60,508 Municipality: 92,515  
46   Halmstad 58,577 134,156[19] Municipality: 91,800  
47   Vejle 56,567 Municipality: 114,140  
48   Horsens 55,884 Municipality: 85,662  
49   Lappeenranta 55,743[7] Municipality: 72,748  
50   Rovaniemi 52,753[7] Municipality: 61,166  
51   Kotka 51,704[7] Municipality: 54,845  
52   Sundsvall 50,712 125,812[19] Municipality: 96,977  

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 alsoEdit


  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".