How the pandemic changed immigration to Sweden

The Local Sweden
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How the pandemic changed immigration to Sweden
Coronavirus travel restrictions have impacted people's moving habits. Photo: Ali Lorestani/TT

Net migration fell to its lowest levels since 2005 in the first half of the year, new figures show.


Sweden's population grew by 24,801 people in the first six months of 2020, according to new data by national number-crunchers Statistics Sweden – the lowest population increase since 2005.

To compare, in the same six months of 2019, the population of Sweden grew by 51,004 people.

You can read about some of the main factors behind the decrease here, but one big part was sharply falling net migration, believed to be a direct consequence of global coronavirus travel restrictions.

A total of 36,058 people migrated to Sweden in January-June, a decrease of 34.7 percent compared to the same months last year, according to Statistics Sweden.

Out of the ten most common countries of birth among immigrants to Sweden, only Danish-born immigrants actually increased in the first half of the year, Statistics Sweden's population data shows, with 41 more Danes moving to Sweden compared to the same period last year.


Immigrants born in Afghanistan meanwhile fell by 3,299 new arrivals compared to last year, Syrian-born immigrants by 1,821, Indian-born by 1,752, Iranian-born by 890, Iraqi-born by 710, Pakistani-born by 422, Polish-born by 310 and German-born by 109. Swedish-born people returning to Sweden fell by 404 compared to 2019.

Emigration, in total 21,289 people between January and June, also fell, but only by 0.9 percent compared to last year. But the figure varies depending on nationality. Swedish-born emigrants decreased by 7.2 percent compared to the first half of last year, while foreign-born emigrants instead increased by 2.0 percent.

Emigration from Sweden by people originally born abroad decreased the most among people born in India, Norway and Spain, and increased the most among people born in Poland, Syria and China.

Sweden's total population stood at 10,352,390 people in mid-2020, according to Statistics Sweden. This, as well as the figures above, include only people who were registered as living in the country at the time (folkbokförda).


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