However, the number of Swedes receiving welfare payments did hit a record low in 2007.
Last year 392,000 people collected benefits, which is a reduction of 45 percent compared with figures from the early 1990s.
But even if fewer Swedes need welfare support, the overall cost of benefits programs hasn’t decreased accordingly.
A report by the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) shows that, despite the overall decrease in welfare rolls, a higher percentage of those on welfare are collecting payments for longer periods of time.
“The instance of long term dependency on welfare hasn’t decreased. We see two parallel trends. One trend says that fewer need help and the other says that those remaining in the welfare system can’t get out,” said Socialstyrelsen analyst Eva Franzén to Dagens Nyheter.
Franzen added that the number of young adults without work may be larger than statistics show, as many never bother to register themselves as unemployed.
“I’ve heard from several municipalities about a growing number of people who simply do nothing. There is also a lack of direct help for this group. There are several programs for children and youth, but if someone isn’t working or studying by the time they’re twenty years old, there isn’t always somewhere else to turn,” she said.