Sweden taking in record numbers of immigrants

As the flow of immigrants into Sweden reaches record levels, growing numbers are choosing to live in communities featuring universities rather than in cities traditionally known for their large immigrant populations.

According to recent figures from Statistics Sweden (SCB), Sweden’s population increased by nearly 60,000 residents in the first nine months of 2008, with immigration accounting for more than 70 percent of the increase.

Altogether, just over 78,200 immigrants came into Sweden between January and September of this year, while nearly 34,900 foreign-born residents left the country.

The net immigration of more than 43,000 represents the highest net immigration ever recorded in Sweden, reports the Sydsvenskan newspaper.

Several regions, including Blekinge and Småland in the south, Västmanland in the west, Dalarna and Gävleborg in central Sweden, as well as Västernorrland and Västerbotten in the north would have registered negative population growth for the first three quarters of 2008 were it not for the additional residents gained through immigration.

Without immigration, 54 out of Sweden’s 290 municipalities would have lost population.

And municipalities with colleges and universities appear to be the communities attracting immigrants in greater numbers.

Net immigration has increased most in Lund (122 percent), Uppsala (66), Jönköping (44), Örebro (41), and Växjö (33), each of which features a sizeable university.

At the same time, immigration trends have actually reversed for several communities which have previously been magnets for the foreign born.

Malmö, Botkyrka and Södertälje near Stockholm, and Landskrona in southern Sweden have all shown a drop in net immigration in the first part of 2008.