The Swedish welfare state has often been praised by the left in the United States. After the migration crisis of 2015, however, when Sweden was flooded by Syrian refugee claimants, Sweden is now facing a welfare crisis that threatens the entire Swedish welfare state model.
Sweden had 9.7 million inhabitants in 2015, before it received 162,000 asylum seekers. 70% of those asylum seekers came from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. 70% of those asylum seekers were also men. The migration crisis created an unsustainable financial and social situation that caused the Swedish political establishment to rethink its stance on asylum migration, which, until then, had been extremely liberal.
Asylum migration has continued, nevertheless. Between 2016 and 2018, more than 70,000 additional migrants have applied for asylum in Sweden, and more than 105,000 asylum migrants have been granted asylum.
There is a demographic impact from migration that affects Sweden’s national and cultural identity, as well as the crushing economic impact on Sweden’s welfare state.
The demographic impact can be seen in cities such as Sweden’s third-largest city, Malmö, where people of foreign background (foreign-born or both parents born abroad) have increased from 31.9% of the population in 2002, to 45.9% of the population in 2018. There are already three Swedish municipalities where the majority of the population has a foreign background: Botkyrka, Södertälje and Haparanda. The question then becomes how to integrate foreigners if the majority of the people in a city are of a foreign background. 51% of the elementary school students in Malmö are either foreign born or both of whose parents are foreign born. Within a generation, Sweden’s third-largest city will have a population in which the majority of people are of foreign background. How will integrating immigrants take place then, and which group will be integrated into which?
Integrating migrants into Swedish society has been a failure, a situation that both experts and politicians agree on. In March 2018, 58% of registered unemployed persons were born outside Sweden, even though the group’s share of the population is only 23%. In 2018, the unemployment rate for foreign-born Swedes was 15.4%, while unemployment for Swedes born in Sweden was 3.8%.
Read more: gatestone institute