Geographical Location and Urbanization of the Swedish Manufacturing Industry, 1900-1960: Evidence from a New Database

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article introduces a new database, based on official statistics, of regional manufacturing industries in Sweden. We employ this database to examine the distribution of manufacturing activity across Swedish regions and cities, 1900–1960. Over this period we observe an increasing concentration of manufacturing activities, reaching a peak around 1940, across the northern, southern and western parts (NUTS-I areas) of Sweden. Over the same period, the North-South divide in terms of manufacturing employment grew larger. Across counties (NUTS-III) and cities we, however, observe two shorter periods of convergence of manufacturing activities, in the early twentieth century and in the post-war period, whereas the inter-war period was characterised by divergence. These developments occurred to the backdrop of the urbanisation of industry in Sweden, as the rural share of manufacturing employment declined from roughly 60 to 25% between 1900 and 1960. We also find that the regional patterns of individual industries over time followed different trajectories, suggesting that that the determinants of industry location differed significantly across industries.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic History
  • Human Geography


  • industry location, industrialisation, second industrial revolution, urbanisation, convergence
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-308
JournalScandinavian Economic History Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch