The Current State of Sweden – The Demographic Future With Current Policies

Sweden is a Scandinavian country with just over ten million inhabitants. Although Sweden is relatively sparsely populated, around 85% of the population lives in the urbanized areas. The majority lives in the coastal areas in the south, where the climate is less harsh.

The descendants of Vikings have left their pagan traditions behind and turned to Christianity. The nation became Christian in the 12th century, and turned to Protestantism around the 16th century. Nowadays around 70% of the population continues to be registered as Christian, despite the fact that the Swedish people are not very religious.

We will have a similar review with regards to Swedish demographics, as we did previously with:

France [From Revolution to De-Evolution – The Current State of France]

Italy [From Glory to Despair: The Current State of Italy]

Germany [The Current State of Germany – Germans, a minority by 2060?]

Swedish Fertility

The fertility rate in Sweden is fairly high. With a score of 1.88 births per woman, it is ranked 3rd in the EU. Nonetheless, it is still below the replacement rate of 2.1, so any population growth Sweden experiences is necessarily due to immigration.

A more detailed view shows us a significant difference in fertility rates between Muslims and non-Muslims in Sweden. Muslims have an average rate of 2.8. For non-Muslims, the rate is only 1.8. Or in other words, Muslim women have on average one more child than other women.

Overall, there are approximately 115.000 babies born in Sweden every year.

The Foreign-Born Population

One in six inhabitants is foreign-born. That translates into around 17%, or 1.7 million people. Changing percentages into numbers is very simple with a population of 10 million. Half of that 1.7 million is non-European.

The table below shows the origin of the foreign-born Swedes. From left to right, the columns show the country of origin, the amount of women, the amount of men, and the total amount. The total amount being the sum of the group of men and women. Note that the names of the countries are not in English, but are fairly simple to read. To provide some guidance, Tyskland is Germany. Turkiet is Turkey. Norge is Norway.

The biggest group are the Finnish, and primarily Finnish women at that. The biggest group of male immigrants comes from Irak, followed by Syria.

                                              Women             Men             Total

The data above is slightly outdated and Syria has since overtaken Finland to take the number one spot.

If we look not at foreign-born, but foreign-background, we include those born in Sweden to parents that migrated there. Those numbers are shared in an online database open for searches to the public. It shows us that in 2017, 24% of the population had a foreign-background. Or, 2.4 million people. Or, to phrase it even simpler, one in four.

2017 Foreign background:

  • Men 1.229.334
  • Women 1.209.673

In the age-group 15-24, the percentage of foreign-background is 30%. The younger generations have a higher percentage of migrants, while the older generations have fewer migrants among them. It is this category that will be producing the next cohort of babies born. Thus, we can assume that 1 in 3 babies born will be to parents from a foreign background. One in three is a bit more than 30%, yet fertility rates among these groups are also higher. Taking that into account, one in three is a conservative estimate. Yet, nonetheless an estimate.

The Inflow of More Migrants

In 2015 Sweden received 163.000 asylum migrants, for a large part from Syria. That equals a 10% increase in the foreign-born population in a single year, or a 1.6% increase in the overall population of the country.

In 2008, a mere 60% of the foreign-born population was employed. This compares bleakly to the 80% of the Swedish-born population. The overall effect on public expenditure has been a net loss, despite the population increase resulting in higher GDP.

Islam in Sweden

Currently 8.1% of the Swedish population is Islamic. Depending on the height of migration, expectations are that by 2050 this will be between 11% and 30%. The 11% would be with zero migration. The 30% would be the case with migration levels similar to recent years.

The 30% would mean 4.4 million Muslims in Sweden by 2050, compared to under a million now.

The Maths

Every year 115.000 babies are born. Two out of three will be likely born to Swedish parents, so 77.000. The other 38.000 will descend from foreign-backgrounds. Although in 2015 the amount of migrants was 163.000, this year was the exception. In 2014 there were only 80.000. It has since dropped to approximately 30.000, for 2016 and 2017. The current year of 2018 appears to be on the same track as last year.

However, even with the lower numbers we have 30.000 newcomers per year. Add that with the 38.000 children born to parents with a foreign-background, and you reach 68.000. The number of native born children is 77.000.

So yearly, there are 145.000 new inhabitants of Sweden. Just over half of those have Swedish backgrounds, while the rest are foreign-backgrounds. As the migrants are generally younger and in child-rearing age, over time we can expect their share in new births to increase. Nearly half of Swedish population growth is due to foreigners already.

If fertility rates remain stable, as well as migration numbers, we can make a simple prediction for the future of Sweden. Once the children born in 2017 grow up and start having children, the 77.000 Swedes will have 69.000 children with a fertility rate of 1.8. The 38.000 foreign-backgrounds will have 38.000 children with a slightly increased fertility rate to accommodate the higher rate among Muslims. On top of that, the 30.000 migrants of that year will have children, let’s give it a very low estimate of 32.000 children. The reality is likely higher, due to it likely being Muslims with a higher rate, but let’s stay conservative. The 32.000 depends on a rate of 2.1 versus an actual Muslim rate of 2.8.

So, this new wave of babies born will have 69.000 Swedes, and 70.000 non-Swedes. So, in a single generation, if Sweden continues the way it is going, native Swedes will be a minority among babies born. From that moment on, it is a matter of time for Swedes to become a minority overall.

Where do they settle?

What makes this changes more noticeable is that migrants don’t spread evenly across the country. The biggest hotspots for migrants are in Malmo and Stockholm. Even within those cities, they group together in the suburbs. You can walk through the center of Malmo without noticing much of the change, but go into the suburbs and you will forget that you are in Sweden.

As the migrant population increases, they will start to spread more and more, and Swedes will start to notice the changes around them.

On a positive note

The demographic issue is something that is being recognized more and more by the Swedish people. For example, recently the newly established party called Alternative for Sweden raised the issue of Swedes becoming a minority within a few decades and referred to it as a population replacement in one their public speeches, vowing to stop it if they enter the parliament in September. The statement was met with cheers and applauds, which indicates that the people of Sweden are more aware of the demographic issue.

Alternative for Sweden have reached out to international donors who may help them in the election that is currently ongoing in Sweden.

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