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Record immigration boosts Sweden's population

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20:00 CET+01:00
More people migrated to Sweden in 2006 than during any other year since records began, 131 years ago.

A preliminary report from Statistics Sweden, SCB, estimates that by the end of the year, 96,800 immigrants will have entered Sweden; an increase of 48 percent compared to last year's figure.

The rise was partly down to a temporary asylum law, valid from November 15th 2005 to March 31st 2006. This law gave asylum seekers the chance to stay in the country after their asylum applications were rejected while their cases were reviewed.

The number of immigrants from Iraq, Poland and Serbia and Montenegro increased the most, with the figures also boosted by a large number of returning Swedish citizens.

Some 9,700 Iraqis came to Sweden in 2006 compared to only 2,900 last year. The number of Polish citizens increased from 3,400 in 2005 to 6,500 in 2006.

Most Iraqi immigrants applied for asylum, while Poles came to Sweden to work.

The record immigration levels have helped contribute to the largest population increase in Sweden for 12 years. But immigration was not the only factor - rising birth rates also played a role. Some 104,600 children have been born in Sweden so far this year, exceeding the number of deaths, which stands at 91,500.

The number of people emigrating from Sweden has increased by 17 percent since last year. By the end of the year, 44,700 people will have left the country. Of this number, 25,200 are Swedish citizens, compared to 22,300 last year. Three quarters of them were born in Sweden.

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