There was much excitement in August last year when Sweden’s official population count ticked past nine million. But according to Jan Ekberg, professor of economics at Växjö University and demography consultant Åke Nilsson, the official figures overestimated the size of the population by almost 100,000 people.
The researchers point out that a full audit of the national population register has not been done since 1985. The main reason for such a big discrepancy between the figures is that many non-Scandinavians who once were registered in Sweden are not living in the country anymore.
According to Statistics Sweden, this number is estimated at 40,000 to 50,000 people today. Nilsson and Ekberg estimate that many are not even alive anymore.
“There are certain discrepancies in the register that are acceptable – for example asylum seekers, who are not entered on the population register until their applications for residency are approved . But the opposite should not be accepted – that is to say that there are people who are registered as living in Sweden who in fact no longer live here,” wrote Nilsson and Ekberg in a comment piece in Dagens Nyheter.
The fact that people who are not living in Sweden have residence permits could mean the state is losing money, the authors argue:
“The right to benefits is linked to national registration. It is paid automatically to an account number that is at people’s disposal in other countries”.
Front page picture: Ulf Hinds; Copyright: Stockholm Visitors Board; Source: imagebank.sweden.se