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State of the Nordic Region 2022

Picture showing a summer landscape in sunset. In the forground a tent a woman and two children camping
Mattias Helge, Unsplash
The State of the Nordic Region 2022 reviews the strengths and challenges in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, along with Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Åland over a tumultuous 2 years.

A comprehensive overview of the Nordics

Towards the end of 2019, the Nordic Council of Ministers established a vision to make the Nordic Region the world's most sustainable and integrated region by 2030. While the Covid-19 pandemic has threatened this vision in some ways, this publication provides a valuable analysis of which pandemic-related challenges are affecting which countries and grants readers an overview of how the region is faring in its shared aims to be a green, competitive and socially sustainable region.

The State of the Nordic Region 2022 presents a collection of maps, figures and analysis within three core areas: demography, labour market, and economy


An evaluation of excess deaths reveals that Covid-19 greatly affected mortality in much of the Nordic Region in 2020, with Sweden showing the highest rates. However, compared to the rest of Europe, life expectancy still increased in most of the Nordic Region during 2020 (excluding Sweden). The Nordic Region also stands out in a European context with increasing numbers of births and natural population growth even during the pandemic; however, such growth was small, and immigration continues to be the main source of population increase.

A parret with two children looking at plants
Nikoline Arns, Unsplash

Labour market

The pandemic has undoubtedly altered the Nordic labour market. Throughout Europe, unemployment rates increased during this season, though these effects were less pronounced in the Nordic Region. Leaders in the Nordic countries did not make a uniform response to the pandemic, leading to general discordance and complications for labour market mobility in cross-border regions. While distancing restrictions encouraged knowledge-based employees to work from home, workers such as those in service-sector jobs were most affected by temporary or permanent layoffs. 


The Nordic Region experienced initial economic shocks from the pandemic but is recovering relatively well among European countries. Some initial decrease in consumption has had encouraging effects on GHG emissions, and electric vehicle purchases are growing. While housing prices increase in all countries, social concerns emerge as young people experience difficulties with entering the housing market. Meanwhile, the tourism sector has been hard hit by the decrease in international visitors, especially for those countries reliant on tourism industry contributions to their total GDP. 

Snowmobiles tracking along an Icelandic snow landscape
Mark Etwake, Unsplash

The report’s concluding chapter, "Covid-19: From crisis to opportunity for the Nordic Region" summarises strengths and opportunities of the pandemic years to date as well as identifying opportunities for policymakers to retain momentum and address concerns for Nordic co-operation towards Vision 2030.

State of the Nordic Region 2022 is produced and published by Nordregio.