This article is part 6 of a series that is looking at The Great Replacement in Europe. It is advised that you read part 1 (France), part 2 (Great Britain), part 3 (Germany), part 4 (Austria, Denmark and the Netherlands) and part 5 (Norway) first.
When we consider The Great Replacement in Europe, Sweden is often the country we think of first. According to many, Sweden is already lost. Her tolerant approach towards immigration, topped up with her generous welfare state, has been too much for the small country to take and irreversible population replacement is already well underway.
It is true that in comparison to the other countries we’ve looked at in this series, the demographics of Sweden have reached far more drastic levels. If trends continue as they are, native Swedes have a shorter time than say, native French or English folk, until they become a minority population in their own homeland. But is Sweden already lost? That’s for you to decide. Below I have documented the change in Sweden’s demographics from World War 2 to the present day.
A History of Immigration to Sweden
World War 2 – 1999
Immigration to Sweden occurred very little prior to World War 2. During the war, however, refugees from Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Nordic countries settled in Sweden. Many of them, especially those from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, stayed after the war had come to an end.
During the same time period, migrants from Finland, Greece, Italy, Turkey, the Balkans and former Yugoslavia also arrived looking for job opportunities. This trend continued throughout the 1950s and the 1960s.
The Nordic Council was formed in 1952 to promote cooperation between Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland. This included the introduction of a common labour market and citizens of the five countries no longer needed passports for free movement across borders. Immigration from countries outside the Nordic Council continued in the following years as refugees from Hungary (in 1956) and Czechoslovakia (in 1968) arrived in Sweden following invasions from the Soviet Union.
In the 1970s, the Swedish Migration Board had to regulate the rapid increase of immigration over the last couple of decades. They did this by enforcing a law that required all migrants to show proof of either an employment offer, housing arrangements or financial support. These new regulations caused immigration to Sweden to decrease during the 1970s. During this time period, a number of economic migrants also chose to return home. Finish migrants, in particular, went back to Finland; a country which, at the time, was having great economic success. From 1971, for a few years, Sweden was actually a country of emigration rather than a country of immigration.
The majority of immigration to Sweden during the above years was mainly from European countries. During the 1980s and 1990s, however, this changed. Between the years of 1973 and 1990, Augusto Pinochet’s rule of Chile resulted in waves of Chilean refugees arriving in Sweden. The same happened between the years 1980 and 1988 during the Iraq-Iran war. During these years, approximately 7000 refugees from Iraq and 27,000 refugees from Iran arrived in Sweden. Further refugees from Iraq also entered Sweden in recent years following the US invasion in 2003.
The Yugoslav wars between 1991 and 1999 resulted in bloodshed and economic damage in most of the former Yugoslav republics. Although the wars mostly resulted in peace accords and several new states were formed, Sweden granted asylum to over 100,000 Bosnians and 3,600 Kosovo Albanians during this period.
2000 – Present Day
In 2001, Sweden joined the Schengen Agreement which meant open borders between Sweden and other EU member states. Perhaps not unexpectedly, migration, both in and out of Sweden, grew after this period. It was during these years, however, that immigration from outside Europe made a rapid increase. Between 2000 and 2010, almost 29,000 people from outside the EU and EEA moved to Sweden.
Considering the size of Sweden, the country certainly took in its fair share of migrants during the Iraq war. To give an example of this, in the year 2007, more Iraqis arrived in small Swedish town Södertälje (1268 migrants) than they did in American and Canada combined (1027 migrants).
2014 was the year that we started to see record-breaking immigration figures to Sweden and the type of immigration that we perhaps associate with the country today. In 2014, the population of Sweden grew by over 100,000 people; a huge figure to say the country only had a total population of 9.69 million. This was mainly due to record high immigration of around 127,000 people, and the fact that more births than deaths happened in Sweden this year. During 2014, 80,000 asylum seekers arrived in Sweden. The majority came from Syria, but some also came from Eritrea and others were classified as ‘stateless’. The Swedish Government granted permanent residence to all Syrians who were seeking asylum. Only Germany (with their overall population of around 80 million people) took in more asylum seekers during this period.
By 2014, 16% of Swedes were born in another country and every fifth immigrant arriving in Sweden came from Syria. This figure had grown by the following year when, in 2015, every fourth immigrant arriving in Sweden came from Syria. In 2016, 3 out of every 10 immigrants to Sweden were born in Syria.
In 2016, the population of Sweden grew by more than 140,000 people. This, again, was a record breaking figure for the country. What differed, however, was that asylum seekers dropped from 163,000 in 2015, to 29,000 in 2016. Many migrants and asylum seekers from 2015 became part of the Swedish population in 2016 when 110,000 asylum applications were considered and around 60% of them were granted. The drop in asylum seeker applicants in 2016 can be put down to Sweden tightening their border controls towards the end of 2015 (making it harder for migrants to enter the country without a passport or valid ID) and changes in legislation which came into effect on 21st June 2016.
By 2016, the population of Sweden was just under 10 million. This is a rather rapid growth from the figure of 6,673,749 which Sweden had at the end of World War 2.
Population percentage wise, Sweden has welcome more refugees in relation to the Syrian war than any other European country. So what do the demographics of Sweden look like now?
Demographics of Modern Day Sweden
At the time of writing this article, the population of Sweden sits at 9,925,421 people. On average, 66 people are born in Sweden every day and 49 people die every day. Net migration to Sweden is currently running at around 100 people per day on average. This means that the net increase in Sweden’s population is 117 people per day on average (85% of them being immigrants).
So far in 2017, the population of Sweden has grown by over 25,000 people.
Ethnic Makeup of Sweden
By 2016, 18% of Swedish citizens were born in another country (23% for 25-64 year-olds). This figure is expected to increase to 22% by 2060 (28% for 25-64 year-olds). On top of these figures, we also need to consider those born in the country to immigrant parents (and subsequently their children) in order to fully understand the ethnic makeup of Sweden.
Not unlike a number of other European countries, there are no official statistics in Sweden relating to ethnic makeup. The Swedish Government do not collect any statistics on ethnicity. We can however make estimates based on the data that we have.
In 2015, The Local reported that 16.1% of Swedish citizens were born in another country. Considering the levels of immigration to Sweden between 2015 and 2016, this figure is in line with the above statistics for the following year (18% in 2016). The Local also reported that 21% of Swedish citizens had a foreign background in 2015. These figures only include people who were born abroad and people who were born in Sweden to two foreign-born parents. They do not include people who were born to one foreign-born parent or third generation immigrants.
Looking at the above statistics, we can work out that 4.9% of people in Sweden were born to two foreign-born parents. The following figures are just an estimate and should by no means be referenced as official, but if we assume for one moment that there are a similar amount of people in Sweden born to one foreign-born parent, this gives us a figure of 25.9% encompassing the group of people who were either born abroad, or have one or two foreign-born parents. Considering Sweden’s record breaking immigration figures in recent years, this figure will have grown over the last two years. If we also take into account third generation immigrants, we would not be too inaccurate if we suggested that a figure of approximately 30% would be correct for the number of non-native Swedes in Sweden.
To back up the above figures, Statistics Sweden did release some figures in 2011 which detailed that 27% of the population in Sweden were either born abroad or had one or two foreign-born parents. They have, however, subsequently been removed from their website.
According to the Central Intelligence Agency, the most common countries of origin among immigrants to Sweden are Finland, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Poland.
Religion in Sweden
The largest religion in Sweden is the Church of Sweden which professes the Lutheran faith (a branch of Protestant Christianity). The Church of Sweden has been separated from the state since the year 2000. Although 62% of Swedes are categorised as following the Church of Sweden, according to the Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism in 2012, only 29% of Swedes claim to be religious.
As membership of the Church of Sweden declines and Sweden’s non-native population increases, the membership of other churches and religions in Sweden is also on the rise. The Catholic Church in Sweden has reported increased membership in recent years (with immigration being cited as the reason why) and likewise, Islam is a growing religion in Sweden with a number of purpose-built mosques having being built around the country.
The one that we should perhaps take the most note of is Sweden’s rapidly growing Muslim population. Researchers suggested that Sweden was approximately 6% Muslim in 2014. This figure is in line with Pew Research Center’s estimate of 4.9% in 2010. As we can see in the graph below, Sweden’s Muslim population is expected to more than double over the course of 20 years, from 4.9% in 2010 to 9.9% in 2030.
5% (or even 10%) may not sound like a huge number, but it is if we consider the fact that prior to World War 2, Sweden’s Muslim population was virtually non-existent. If Sweden is expected to be around 10% Muslim by 2030, what percentage is this expected to be by 2050, and what kind of change will this bring to the country? The majority of Muslims in Sweden are either immigrants or children of immigrants so we can conclude that this percentage of the population come from countries with different cultures.
There is a clear clash of cultures between Europe’s new Muslim population and Europe’s native inhabitants and this often causes issues around assimilation between the groups. If Muslim migrants refuse to adopt the culture of their host country and choose instead to retain their own way of life, their culture will remain independent and as their population grows, we end up with parallel communities. The more independent cultures we have in Sweden, the bigger the threat to traditional Swedish culture this is. This is The Great Replacement in full swing!
The above graph not only takes immigration into consideration, but also fertility rates between Muslim and non-Muslim families.
Fertility Rates in Sweden
The fertility rate required for a European population to stay the same is 2.1. This figure is slightly higher than 2 children for 2 parents to make up for the fact that more boys than girls are born, and to counteract mortality rates.
The current fertility rate in Sweden is around 1.88. This figure is for the entire Swedish population, regardless of ethnicity and religion. This means that at present, without immigration, the population of Sweden would decline. In actual fact, Sweden’s fertility rate has been declining since 2010 (when it was at 1.98) but record-breaking immigration figures to the country have caused the population to increase. We can begin to understand here how Sweden’s native population is declining whereas Sweden’s non-native population is growing pretty rapidly.
Aside from the average fertility rate in Sweden being 1.88, the average fertility rate for Muslims in Sweden is much higher. Pew Research Center suggested that this figure was around 2.5 between the years 2005 and 2010. This figure is expected to drop slightly by 2030, but it will still be around the 2.3 mark; a figure which is above the required rate of 2.1 for a population to stay the same size.
Remember, by 2030, Muslims are expected to be around 10% of the population in Sweden. Add this to the fact that Sweden has an overall declining fertility rate, yet a Muslim fertility rate which is over 2.1. If you also take future immigration figures into consideration, you can begin to see The Great Replacement in full effect.
The Effects of The Great Replacement in Sweden
We will touch on the effects of The Great Replacement in the next (and final) article in this series. There are, however, a few Sweden-specific statistics that we can take a look at in the meantime.
It is true that Sweden is now number 2 on the global list of rape countries, yet this is a stat we have to be careful with as what may be classified as ‘rape’ in Sweden, may not be classified as rape in another country. Also in Sweden, if a wife is raped by her husband every day for a week, this counts as 7 rapes in Sweden, whereas in most other countries it only counts as one. This by no means implies that Sweden isn’t the “rape capital of Europe”, it may well be; we just have no equal comparison between Sweden and other countries. What we do know, however, is that 92% of all ‘severe rapes’ (violent rapes) in Sweden are carried out by people with a migratory/asylum background and that 43% of all rapes in Sweden are carried out on children.
Crime in general is on the rise in Sweden, with around 13% of the population being a victim of an offence in 2015. In 2015, only 14% of all crimes in Sweden were solved and 80% of police officers were allegedly considering quitting the force. In relation to these figures, the Swedish Government claims:
“People from foreign backgrounds are suspected of crimes more often than people from a Swedish background. According to the most recent study, people from foreign backgrounds are 2.5 times more likely to be suspected of crimes than people born in Sweden to Swedish-born parents.”
There are also a number of Vulnerable Areas (“no-go-zones”) in Sweden which are published to the general public annually by the Swedish Police Authority. This year, the Swedish Police Authority revealed that there are 61 Vulnerable Areas in Sweden. This figure is up from 55 the previous year. Children as young as 10-years-old are recruited in these areas where they become involved in serious crime, often involving weapons and drugs. Riots, carried out by up to hundreds of masked men, are not uncommon in these areas.
In relation to Islamic extremism, Swedish Security Police (Säpo) reported that there were around 200 extremists living in the country in 2010. Fast-forward to the present day, and Säpo Director General, Anders Thornberg, suggests:
“We would say that it has gone from hundreds to thousands now. It’s a new normality so far, it’s a historic challenge that extremist environments grow.”
In the eights months of 2017 so far, Säpo has revealed that they receive on average around 6000 leads per month in relation to terrorism and extremism. This figure is up from 2000 per month, five years ago.
Despite all this, Sweden continues to receive returning ISIS fighters from the Middle East back into the country. Sweden has so far received around 150 returning ISIS fighters; individuals who are given protected identities so that the general public have no idea who they are. Two Swedish ISIS fighters that returned to Europe were Osama Krayem and Mohamed Belkaid; two of the terrorists who were involved in the 2016 Brussels bombings, a terrorist attack that resulted in 32 people being murdered.
Out of the 163,000 asylum seekers that Sweden received in 2015, 14,000 that were told they were going to be deported disappeared into the country without a trace. It is estimated that 10,000 of these are still on the loose. If that already didn’t seem like a huge problem to fix, on top of this, Sweden only has 200 border staff to search for them.
Aside from crime and violence, immigration is also having hugely negative economic implications on Sweden. Although Sweden is known for its generous welfare state, the long-lasting burden of this kindness is certainly starting to take it’s toll. Sweden has one of the largest gaps in Europe when we consider unemployment between native and foreign workers. After a period of nine years, only half of Swedish immigrants have a job. Even after twenty years of residency, foreign-born workers are still much less likely than native Swedes to have a job.
According to the Gatestone Institute in February 2017:
Since July 2013, illegal immigrants have the right to state-funded health care, dental care, contraception counselling, and maternity care, as well as care in case of abortion. The illegal immigrant is also entitled to transportation to and from health care facilities, and also an interpreter.
All children, in fact, who are living illegally in Sweden are offered the same health care and dental care, and under the same conditions, as children who are Swedish citizens.
The strange thing is that illegal immigrants pay lower fees for their medical and dental care than Swedish citizens pay. This is something that has upset many Swedish senior citizens, as 355,000 Swedish senior citizens live below the European Union’s poverty line. It is not certain that these senior citizens can afford dental care at all, while at the same time, illegal immigrants receive dental care by paying a fee of $6 (50 SEK).
In Malmö, Sweden’s third largest city, the children of illegal immigrants receive full income support, and illegal migrants who have children have their entire rent paid by the municipality.
A Defend Europa Series…
Sweden is the sixth and final country that we will visit in this series. Next up, we will be looking at the ideas of Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi and Earnest Albert Hooton and we will then publish a summary piece on The Great Replacement where we will look at the demographics of Europe as a whole, and also consider who is behind the theory and what our predictions for the future are.