Administrative divisions

Municipal divisions of Sweden

Sweden is a unitary state divided into 21 county councils (landsting) and 290 municipalities. Every county council corresponds to a county with a number of municipalities per county. County councils and municipalities have different roles and separate responsibilities relating to local government. Health care, public transport and certain cultural institutions are administered by county councils. Preschools, primary and secondary schooling, public water utilities, garbage disposal, elderly care and rescue services are administered by the municipalities. Gotland is a special case of being a county council with only one municipality and the functions of county council and municipality are performed by the same organisation.

Municipal and county council government in Sweden is similar to city commission and cabinet-style council government. Both levels have legislative assemblies (municipal councils and county council assemblies) of between 31 and 101 members (always an uneven number) that are elected from party-list proportional representation at the general election which are held every four years in conjunction with the national parliamentary elections.

Municipalities are also divided into a total of 2,512 parishes. These have no official political responsibilities but are traditional subdivisions of the Church of Sweden and still have some importance as census districts for census-taking and elections.

The Swedish government has 21 County Administrative Boards, which are responsible for regional state administration not assigned to other government agencies or local government. Each county administrative boards is led by a County Governor appointed for a term of six years. The list of previous officeholders for the counties stretches back, in most cases, to 1634 when the counties were created by Lord High Chancellor Count Axel Oxenstierna. The main responsibility of the County Administrative Board is to co-ordinate the development of the county in line with goals set by the Riksdag and Government.

There are older historical divisions, primarily the twenty-five provinces and three lands, which still retain cultural significance.