Sweden’s annual immigrant tally hit six figures in 2008

More than 100,000 people emigrated to Sweden in 2008, marking the first time the country’s annual immigrant count hit six figures, according to new statistics.

Figures released by Statistics Sweden (SCB) on Tuesday put Sweden’s population at 9.25 million.

The number of immigrants was up by 1.7 percent from the previous year, SCB said, as Sweden’s overall population rose by 0.8 percent, or 73,420 people, to 9,256,347.

There were 55,877 more people who emigrated to Sweden than who left the country.

The number of births meanwhile rose by 1.8 percent to 109,301 from 107,421 in 2007.

Excluding Swedish citizens who returned home, the number of immigrants totalled 83,318 people. The overall number was 101,171 immigrants, compared to 99,485 in 2007.

Iraqis, who have in recent years become Sweden’s second largest community of foreigners behind Finns, account for the biggest rise, with 12,103 new arrivals.

That number is however down by 20 percent from 2007 after Sweden adopted stricter asylum criteria for Iraqis.

In 2008, the number of people born in Iraq and living in Sweden also passed the 100,000 mark, to 109,446 people, up from 97,513 in 2007 and some 49,000 in 2000.

In 2007, 58.7 percent of Iraqis in Sweden held Swedish nationality.