• Sweden edition

Three in four Rosengård children 'live in poverty'

Published: 12 Mar 2012 10:35 GMT+01:00
Updated: 12 Mar 2012 10:35 GMT+01:00

In the Malmö district of Rosengård over 70 percent of children are living in relative poverty, according to fresh figures from Statistics Sweden (Statistiska centralbyran, SCB), which measures the growing economic divides across the country.

“It is unfortunately a trend that we can see all over Europe, that the gap between certain groups is widening,“ said Hans Swärd, professor of social work at the Lund University, to news agency TT.
At the behest of the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), Statistics Sweden has measured poverty levels among Sweden’s children and youth.
The figures build on how many families have a disposable income 60 percent below the average for the population.
“It is a recognized EU-measurement to assess financial vulnerability. In the calculations one allows for the size of the family and the number of adults,” said Petter Wikström, SCB statistician, to TT.
The results show that the number of poor children differs across Sweden, with Rosengård standing out from the rest.
There, 71 percent of all children are living in poverty, compared to 51 in the Stockholm suburb Rinkeby/Kista and 50 in Gothenburg’s Angered.
In Stockholm suburbs Danderyd and Täby, however, the corresponding number is six percent.
According to minister for children and the elderly, Maria Larsson, the gaps are a problem.
“We have a large responsibility to give kids as similar preconditions as possible. To strengthen the families’ economies we increased the country’s standard for support for low-income families with older children and youths at the beginning of the year. We have also increased parts of the housing allowance for families with children,” she said to TT.

TT/The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:06 March 12, 2012 by star10
Those children with poor background are going to be disadvantaged. Today's world requires a lot of investment on kids for them to be able competitive enough in the future. And the investment on kids requires a lot of money. So if one is born to poor parents, it is hard to get out. Parents with more education are also more capable to help their kids acquire better quality education. But if a kid is born to less educated parents, that puts him/her in a disadvantaged position. Whether it is morally proper to help kids be on equal footing through transfers from the haves to the have-nots is not an obvious question. If parents worked hard their entire life to save for their kids, it seems fair that they should be allowed to provide more to their kids. On the other hand, if a kid is born to poor parents, it sounds unfair to let the kid stay in poverty.
11:31 March 12, 2012 by gabeltoon
Star 10 Your comment is well put. I feel that if you work hard at anything you reap the rewards.As with most states of the EU there is a problem with immigrant persons not trying hard enough to gain any kind of employment.Being an immigrant or if you arrive in another country by your own means it is your responsibility to get work and to do your best to blend in with life in your new country.If you are poor you still do your best.You only have family you can afford to bring into your home.It's no use having six kids if you can't afford to provide for. This is a hard one to change.
11:36 March 12, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
A by-product of poor immigration policy is that poor communities have trouble getting out of poverty, their children suffer, and crime rates increase.

A nation has a responsibility to match immigration with the employment needs of the various regions of Sweden according to the skill levels of the immigrants, and/or the ability of the Swedish education system to raise their skill level to the point where they can be gainfully employed and cease to be a burden on the system. This may include approving immigration to a particular region or city in Sweden for a minimum of 3 years say, to avoid them simply piling into a ghetto. After the 3 years they may have acquired more skills and experience so that they can move to another city to start a new job.

Anyway I for one would like to see more publications on the rationale behind immigration numbers to Sweden. Is there at least some logic involved, or is it generic goodwill without any consideration of economics?
12:01 March 12, 2012 by stevo1
not to bad figures considering Australia has 50% of it population living below poverty line.

I think this ideal of immigrants not wanting to work is a fantasy! Depending on which country of origin you are from vastly affects your employment opportunities in Sweden.

I have been informed from a retired immigration worker that as an immigrant I can expect not to gain meaningful employment (even taxi driving) for at least two years. Even immigrants such as engineers etc will work in another job for at least 5 years before finding work in their field, regardless of their experience.

There is also the silent racism card played by employers, hiring swedes with no experience (but a masters in Admin) over highly qualified professional immigrants.

There will always be the families who pump out children in an effort not to work, but this happens in ALL cultures and races, and is not fixed just to immigrants.
13:05 March 12, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
Way too many 3rd world immigrants here. That is entirely the problem.
13:05 March 12, 2012 by entry
Granted there is an increasing 'affordable' housing and job deficit in Sweden and throughout Europe. 'The powers that be', here in Sweden are highly educated(many have been in school for most of their lives prior to latching on to lucrative government positions of power) some of our most vocal even make the sacrifice of not working in the private sector as the rest of us. They are extremely well compensated because they collectively deal with issues like those stated above everyday(prior to returning to their exclusive neighborhoods each and every evening without fail I will add) have determined the proper course of action is to bring greater numbers of unskilled/uneducated growing families( sark off - of whom I truly believe are good people but ill equipped to succeed in relatively stagnant established economies) into Sweden's borders. First world individuals should study math, science, arithmetic and business practices. I would like very much for Swedish individuals to venture into the third world to build roads, sanitation, clean water supplies and viable industrial and agricultural industries on foreign soil(not because I think poorly of our fellow humans in the third world but because I think given the chance these highly fertile regions can be self-sufficient instead of become victims of exploitation as is often the case).
13:17 March 12, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
@ stevo1

All valid points, but my question is whether immigration numbers are more of a whim or a hard science, based on detailed statitiscal analyses and economic forecasts, which also could include the effects you describe, namely the slower uptake of the workers who are non Swedish.

I maintain further that the success of immigration policies could probably be improved with regional placements for few years. An example is Los Angeles in the 1950's, which was growing so fast they that employed anyone who could breathe (white, black, hispanic, oriental) to assist with the house, office, road building, and infra-structure boom taking place there. IF we are in the midsts of less than a boom, then immigration numbers should reflect this, and if some regions require more skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled labour than others, then these regions should be targetted for a greater proportion of incomming immigrants.
13:25 March 12, 2012 by RobinHood
What on earth have their parents done with the vast amounts of taxpayers' money they are given every month? Anyone would think they don't spend it on the welfare of their children, but that can't be true.
13:28 March 12, 2012 by Mib
From my experience of immigrationin the UK, the people who come in from the Asian and Indian areas tend to have a higher work ethic than the native born people. They tend to come from countries which are not bloated with welfare systems and see other people working hard during their childhood which sets their expectations on ho wto get on in life.

It seems now in a politically correct world, we have set the expectations of immigrants, especially from war torn areas that you are given a home, benefits etc, so why do you need to work, especially if it's better than what you had before ad t's free! The other side of the coin is that in Sweden, they are not used to such large numbers of immigration and society hasn't changed quick enough to be more accepting. In time it will come...but as I walk through the City of Stockholm, the number of non-white faces is very small if I compare to say London or other areas of the UK. Even for a white westerner has trouble getting a job here as again due to their inexperience with dealing in a mixed society, they will give a job to a Swede before they do someone else, whereas in the UK, getting a job as an immigrant is much easier.

Putting more and more immigrants into one area without the right resources creates an area which develops into ghettos, which inevitbaly leads to a negative growing up experience for the young people and hence the problems you are seeing in Rosengård. If it's not dealt with, then you won't be able to deal with the "poverty" issue.

The main problem is a combination of a lack of resources due to scared Governments wanting to get the "white" vote and not investing enough. The politicains keep talking about integration etc etc, but it's all talk and no action or very small projects which have no impact. It will take a radical change in approach without political interference and involving community leaders who understand the REAL problems and what is needed to fix them.

While the UK has better integration, it is a frightening statistic that over 50% of young blacks are unemployed, which increased from 28% before the credit crunch. The political will in combination with the necessary resources and getting the right people involved in the community and not consultants (jobs for the boys) is needed....but when there are so many other demands such as the medical system/education etc then politicians always takes the easy route unfortnately.
13:58 March 12, 2012 by eppie
@reason abd realism

No of course there is no economic strategy regarding immigration.

You can discuss about if Sweden allows too many immigrants in or not, but the reason they are allowed in is indeed a certain typoe of wellfare. As a rich country you can host people from countries that are torn up by war or famine. Economy is not part of the equation here. Otherwise it is easy....close the borders and only allow highly educated people in.

But than again....what if the US would have done that with all the poor swedes that moved there in 19th and start of the 20th century?
13:58 March 12, 2012 by gpafledthis
Poverty ? I'll bet they get their Kalles Kaviar weekly !! Now the Norwegian Kids eat Lutefisk-that's REAL poor stuff !!!
14:08 March 12, 2012 by JLondon

That is a myth that asians and indian areas have a higher work ethic. It is more to do with they own every corner shop and won't employ locals.

Then work out the Income Support, Tax Credits, Heating Payment, National Health Service, which they milk dry. Get my point? Put one on £5.00 an hour I bet you suddenly that work ethic won't be very good.
14:16 March 12, 2012 by Omarbete
I wonder if there are no native (?) Swedes who are poor and if that constitutes a problem as well? Are there hardworking immigrants who succeed and build a better life despite all the hinders? Sweden will stop functioning if immigrants strike only one day!
14:27 March 12, 2012 by lilsocks

Don't you count on that, Sweden was functioning just fine before the influx of economic 'refugees'. Now here is a thought, if life in Sweden is so rubbish for them why do they don't go back? Or put it another way, why did they come to Sweden in the first place? It is not exactly the first stop is it......
14:30 March 12, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
@ eppie

An economic analysis of the USA between 1870 and 1920 would have indicated that farming was an essential industry, so that anyone who knew how to farm or could learn to farm would have made an excellent choice to populate the vast stretches of largely unpopulated midwest and western states, earn their living, feed the cities, export to other countries, etc.. etc....

There may have been little or no analysis at that time, but now, 100 years and a million economics/sociology/psychology and statistics PhD's later, one could make this into a real applied science. I am not saying that all immigrants should have a university education, I am saying that there is some healthy balance of skillsets, along with a logical number of immigrants for every country, including Sweden today, and I would feel better if I saw evidence that such a scientific approach was being applied.

Even today the USA has green card lotteries simply to get a mix of new immigrants into their borders, but the number of green cards handed out this way is certainly not infinite.
14:36 March 12, 2012 by Dazzler
Tax raising time! Cant let those poor misunderstood victims of corporate greed suffer! Vile 1%er Swedes, pay your fair share!!!

edit: wow sorry, I dont know what came over me. Feel free to deport me at your leisure!
15:36 March 12, 2012 by crankpot
yeh lets bring then in by the truck loads again this year, then listen to the politicians bitch and complain once again about who is living in poverty, who cannot get jobs or apts. and then see how they once again fix this problem.. raise our taxes, chop our childrens wages and jobs so we can give them to people who come here for a better live, but yet still live like they did in their own countries, and that i mean by not even trying to fit into swedish society by saying they culture doesnt permit them from doing this and that, and blah blah blah.. and yes i do come from another country, learned swedish, got more education, have a job, house, family, pay my taxes and when im home, i am 100 % canadian, as is my family, but once i open the door we all turn into swedes.. when i rome...
15:58 March 12, 2012 by godnatt
The solution... MORE IMMIGRANTS of course!

Preferably of the uneducated, unassimilable sort!
16:25 March 12, 2012 by eppie
@reason abd realism

I understand what you mean but in a country like sweden it is not only economic incentive that counts. The same goes for development aid. That also doesn't yield anything for us here in Sweden but we do it because it is a humane thing to do. Of course also here you can discuss if everything is executed in the best way but that is another question.

In the mean time let's not start name calling. I as a foreigner in Sweden get also shocked by the amount of sick days many normal swedes take....talk about a cost for society.

Yes things are not going perfect, but we are still doing pretty well here.
16:32 March 12, 2012 by Cephalectomy
gr8 going to make foreigners forget about the weapon business, we will not. whatever news who might make us forget wont. period
17:03 March 12, 2012 by zooeden
Thats what I call integration!!!
19:46 March 12, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
Did The Local describe Rosengård as a paradise just last week?! LMFAO!
21:38 March 12, 2012 by godnatt
Is this one of the poor "children"?

23:08 March 12, 2012 by salmanikram2003
we are all human beings. we are same regardless of our colour, race , language and religion. All are inhabitants of this lovely, culturally rich and beautiful country SWEDEN. Swed ,the native inhabitants are very nice, calm and hardworking. Same are the immigrants. let us shed the differences and work togather for the prosperous future of this country and help each other in hard situations like the economic crisis nowadays.
23:38 March 12, 2012 by hughknows
Sure, talk of a gap in wealth distribution - which is understandable with the number of somewhat unestablished immigrants in that area, talk about relative poverty...but don't start referring to 71 percent of people in that area being simply 'in poverty' halfway through the article. It makes a mockery of real poverty. Anyone on Swedish benefits is not in genuine poverty. Relative poverty is perhaps an acceptable term here, as certainly they may not be able to afford the varieties of expensive foods and other luxury items to which most Swedes have access. That is not a measure of poverty per se though, but what you correctly refer to initially as 'relative poverty'. You slyly alter this of course, to simply 'poverty' later on.
01:29 March 13, 2012 by phil23456
Maybe if there parents didn't have 8 babies each & got a job the kids wouldn't be in poverty. Besides what Sweden classes as poverty is like a posh hotel considering where a lot of the 3rd world immigrants and refugees come from.
01:42 March 13, 2012 by anticommie
Swedes should pay 90% income tax to save these poor people, were is your compassion greedy swedish people?
02:20 March 13, 2012 by schmuck281
What exactly is "relative" poverty? Does it mean actual poverty, where people are not able to eat properly and have no place to live?

Or is it the fashionable poverty where some people don't have as much 'cool' stuff as others.

This idea that everyone should have exactly as much stuff as everyone else is BS.
04:51 March 13, 2012 by libertarianism
The World Bank defines poverty as living on less than $1.25 a day. This poverty does not exist in Sweden. Sweden instead measures "low economic standard" which means a household falls 60% below the average-household income (in all of Sweden?). According to this reference, Sweden's elderly (people age 75 years +) have the lowest economic standard, with 56.8% of those within the low-economic-standard group being elderly women who live alone (37.1%) and elderly men who live alone (19.7%).

06:03 March 13, 2012 by Dazzler
Hell, once you retire here, you no longer matter to the state. Fact.
08:27 March 13, 2012 by SecondGen
I thought there were no poor in Sweden?
09:07 March 13, 2012 by CJ from Sunshine Desserts
They all have a roof over them, food, free medical care, dental & free education. Should think that most people in south america, africa & asia may never have this, OK compared to the average family in Lidingö or Täby......they fall behind in material wealth, but poverty no....remember Sweden also has a judicial system that for the most part works & is relative corruption free, as are the police, also there is no risk of war or civil unrest here in this part of the world. Which is a lot better I think than their home countries.......rock on Tommy !!!
10:24 March 13, 2012 by Marc the Texan
I really can't take Sweden's definition of poverty very seriously.
17:06 March 13, 2012 by Smiling Canuk
If Rosengard is a typical immigrant experience, Sweden appears to be a textbook example of how not to do an immigration policy.
19:29 March 14, 2012 by Larry Thrash
The next story will be, it's because of racism (of course).
21:59 March 16, 2012 by sureiam
arent kids our future? Predict the future in Sweden? Shooting, stealing, and prostitution...................
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