The mass of the population adhere to the Lutheran Protestant Church, recognised as the State religion. There are 12 bishoprics, and 2,551 parishes in 1898. At the census of 1890, the number of 'Evangelical Lutherans' was returned at 4,735,218, the Protestant Dissenters, Baptists, Methodists, and others numbering 44,378, including 23,307 unbaptized children. Of other creeds, there were 1,390 Roman Catholics, 46 Greek-Catholics, 313 Irvingites, 3,402 Jews, and 234 Mormons. No civil disabilities attach to those not of the national religion. The clergy are chiefly supported from the parishes and the proceeds of the Church lands.
The Kingdom has two universities, at Upsala and Lund, the former frequented by 1,405 and the latter by 585 students in the spring of 1898. There are also a state faculty of medicine in Stockholm (268 students) and private philosophical faculties in Stockholm and Göteborg. Education is well advanced in Sweden. In 1897 there were 79 public high schools, with 16,180 pupils; 28 people's high schools, 1,205 pupils; 12 normal schools for elementary schoolteachers, 1,203 pupils; 2 high and 6 elementary technical schools; 10 navigation schools, 592 pupils; 21 institutions and schools for deaf mutes and blinds; besides medical schools, military schools, veterinary and other special schools. Public elementary instruction is gratuitous and compulsory, and children not attending schools under the supervision of the Government must furnish proofs of having been privately educated. In 1896 there were 11,342 elementary schools, with 15,155 teachers and 730,259 pupils. In 1896 the expenditure on elementary education was 16,132,149 kronor, of which more than one-fourth came from the national funds. Among the recruits (Beväring) of 1895 only 0.20 per cent, were unlettered, only 0.65 per cent, unable to write.
Justice and Crime.
The administration of justice is entirely independent of the Government. Two functionaries, the Justitie-Kansler, or Chancellor of Justice, and the Justitie-Ombudsman, or Attorney-General, exercise a control over the administration. The former, appointed by the King, acts also as a counsel for the Crown; while the latter, who is appointed by the Diet, has to extend a general supervision over all the courts of law. The Kingdom, which possesses one Supreme Court of Judicature, is divided into 3 high court districts and 207 district courts divisions, of which 90 are urban districts and 117 country districts.
In town these district courts (or courts of first instance) are held by the burgomaster and his assessors; in the country by a judge and 12 jurors—peasant proprietors—the judge alone deciding, unless the jurors unanimously differ from him, when their decision prevails. In Sweden trial by jury only exists for affairs of the press.
In 1896, 1,936 men and 262 women were sentenced for serious crimes; at the end of 1896, 1,640 hard-labour prisoners.
Each commune is bound to assist children under 15 years of age, if their circumstances require it, and all who from age or disease are unable to support themselves. In other cases the communal poor board decides what course to take. Each commune and each town (which may be divided) constitutes a poor district, and in each is a board of public assistance. In 1896 these districts possessed workhouses and similar establishments to the number of 1,854, capable of lodging 47,377 people.