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Immigrants central to swelling population

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Immigrants central to swelling population
12:15 CET+01:00
Sweden's foreign-born population is expected to reach 14 percent by the end of 2008, a year in which the country's overall population had its greatest increase since 1970.

In the last decade, the Sweden's foreign-born population has grown by 27 percent, as measured as a percentage of Sweden's total population, according to Statistics Sweden.

If people born in Sweden to two foreign-born parents are added to the mix, the total comes to 378,000 people, or nearly 20 percent of Sweden's overall population.

The 108,000 Iraqis now living in Sweden comprise the second largest group of foreign-born residents in the country behind natives of Finland, of which there are 176,000.

During the past year, 102,000 people immigrated to Sweden, a 2 percent increase from 2007.

Immigration from Iraq was down 21 percent from the year 2007, but still remained strong with an estimated 12,000 Iraqis entering Sweden in 2008.

Statistics Sweden estimates that the country's overall population will reach 9,259,000 by December 31st, 2008, an increase of 76,000 for the year and the largest jump since 1970.

In addition to immigration, Sweden's robust birth rate also helped push up the country's population in 2008 as 109,000 babies were born, 2,000 more than the year before. A higher number of births than deaths in Sweden in 2008 account for 19,000 of the people added to Sweden's population during the year.

Sweden also lost 26,000 citizens to emigration in 2008, with four in ten choosing to head to Norway, the United States, or the United Kingdom.

In addition, 44,000 non-Swedish citizens left the country, most of who returned to their countries of origin, resulting in a record net immigration for the year of 57,000 people.

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