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In 2016 Sweden had about 9,8 million inhabitants. About 1, 6 million are born in other countries. This is about every seventh inhabitant of the country.

From 2002 to 2015 the number of foreign born inhabitants grew from 12 to 17 percent of the population. Sweden is the country of the Nordic region with the highest proportion of foreign born inhabitants. The largest group of immigrants in 2015 came from Syria for the second year in the row. Almost every fourth, about 30 000 persons, were born in Syria. In 2015 there were 162 877 asylum seekers in Sweden. Out of these about 35 000 were unaccompanied children. In 2016 there were 28 939 asylum seekers in Sweden.

Immigration plays the most important role in the growth of the Swedish population. Sweden is the country with the largest immigration in the Nordic region since 2000.


  • It is important to speed up the entering into the labour market and integration of the refugees. Passive waiting is very negative for individuals and it makes a remarkable obstacle for integration.

  • One of the challenges that has been mentioned is that the group of new arrivals is heterogeneous. It consists both of persons with high educational background who have been well established in their countries of origin, and persons with very low or none education at all.

  • Housing is also mentioned as a significant problem.

  • Unaccompanied refugee children bring along new challenges for different actors working with issues of integration.



Nordens välfärdscenter | tel: +46 8 545 536 00 | | En institution under Nordiska ministerrådet