Meänkieli is spoken in many communities in Sweden and mainly in the municipalities Gällivare, Haparanda, Pajala, Kiruna and Övertorneå. The speakers call themselves Tornedalians, Lantalaiset, Kven depending on what area they are from or where they live. There are several varieties of Meänkieli in Sweden. The language is also spoken on Finland and in Norway. In Norway the language was recognised as the minority langage Kven. The number of people speaking Meänkieli in Sweden has been estimated to approximately 75 000 speakers. 

In December 1999 the Swedish Parliament recognised Meänkieli as one of the national minority languages in Sweden. This means that Sweden shall protect, preserve and promote Meänkieli in accordance with the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. This means that the minority has the right to learn and develop its minority language.

Special regulations on the right to use Meänkieli and services in Meänkieli can be found in Act No. 2009:724 on National Minorities and Minority Languages and the Langeuage Act No. 2009:600. Today, nine municipalities are part of the administrative area för Meänkieli: Gällivare, Haparanda, Kalix, Kiruna, Luleå, Pajala, Stockholm, Umeå and Övertorneå.