Sweden’s Population Groups Originating from Developing Countries : Change and Integration

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Sweden’s Population Groups Originating from Developing Countries : Change and Integration

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Title Sweden’s Population Groups Originating from Developing Countries : Change and Integration
Author(s) Bevelander, Pieter ; Dahlstedt, Inge
Date 2012
Editor(s) Fryklund, Björn
English abstract
This report deals with the integration of individuals originating from the six non-western immigrant countries of Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Turkey and Vietnam and their descendants in Sweden in the ten-year period 1998-2008. The central aim of the report is to analyse the integration patterns of these groups in three important areas: demographic behaviour, educational enrolment and labour market integration. This research has three objectives. The first is to determine when the groups came into being and how they have developed, with a focus on key features of population change, i.e. the overall growth, components of growth and age-sex-structure shifts. The second objective is to analyse two specific aspects: the groups’ integration and participation in the educational system, i.e. educational enrolment, and their integration patterns in the labour market, with a main focus on employment and unemployment. In order to provide a bridge between the analyses of population change and integration, compositions of the groups by selected traits, such as immigrant generation and duration of residence, are also examined. The third objective is to study, where feasible, the impact of selected public policies and practices, particularly those pertaining to immigration and integration. Over the last six decades the size of Sweden’s immigrant population (immigrants and their descendants) has steadily increased. Migration flows into the country have been associated with societal phenomena such as labour demand in the growing economy, family reunions and refugee streams due to wars and political conflicts. Although earlier migration streams appear to have integrated relatively well, concern about the current streams is high on the political agenda. It is thought that more in-depth knowledge about the integration patterns of the demographic, educational and labour market domains could lead to improved integration policies. In 2010, almost one fifth of Sweden’s population consisted of immigrants or descendants of immigrants. To be more exact, 14.7 per cent of the country’s 9,415,570 inhabitants are immigrants in Sweden. Descendants of immigrants amount to 412,960 persons, or 4.4 per cent of the total population. In other words, immigrants from the countries that are in focus in this report and their descendants constitute 20 per cent of the immigrant population in Sweden, with individuals from Iraq making up the largest immigrant group and people from Pakistan the smallest. Since the end of the 1960s Sweden has made use of a number of integration strategies to accommodate immigrants into several areas of society. Of these, Swedish language proficiency and integration into the economic domain have been the most important. According to The Migrant Integration Policy Index (2007), Sweden scores very highly when it comes to granting immigrants access to and rights in the labour market. To summarise the most important results and at the same time return to the first objective of this study, namely the demographic integration in the period 1998-2008, we can see that all six immigrant groups have grown. In particular, the Iraqi and Somali groups have experienced a substantial increase in number. For Iran, Iraq, Somalia and Vietnam the growth is due to both net migration and an increasing number of descendants. For Pakistan, the main reason for the increase is net migration. Overall, the population growth in Sweden in this period is mainly a result of net migration and higher birth rates among immigrants and to a somewhat lower degree their descendants. As might be expected, “older” immigrant groups that have been in Sweden for a longer period of time have more descendants than “younger” immigrant groups. Iran, Turkey and Vietnam can be depicted as “older” groups and Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia as “younger” ones. With the exception of Iran, all the immigrant groups show a higher crude birth rate than that for native Swedes. The immigrant groups are still younger than the native population and have a far lower crude death rate than natives. In general, immigrants are married to individuals from the same group, whereas their descendants tend to be married to natives or individuals from other immigrant groups. The total fertility rate is higher among most of the immigrant groups compared to that for natives. Again, Iranian women are the exception, where descendants show a lower fertility rate than their immigrant parents. The second objective of the study – to analyse two specific aspects of the integration of the groups – includes participation in the educational system, i.e. educational enrolment, and integration patterns in the labour market, with a focus on employment and unemployment. When it comes to enrolment in education, the immigrant groups show a variation. Iraqi and Iranian men and women, as well as males from Pakistan and females from Vietnam, match the enrolment levels of native men and women in the age group 16-19. Moreover, the descendants of immigrants generally show a higher enrolment level than their immigrant counterparts. A positive development is visible over time. Both immigrants and descendants have higher enrolment levels in education at the end of the period compared to the beginning, i.e. 2008 versus 1998. However, Somali men and women have a lower enrolment level at the end of the period compared to the start. Major migration to Sweden and difficulties of entering the regular educational system could be reasons for this result. Descendant females show a higher enrolment level than descendant males. The pattern is similar for immigrants, but at a lower level. For higher education, the results indicate a gender gap with more female than male students. The employment integration of individuals in the core labour market ages of 25-54 is relatively low. However, a positive trend is visible over time. Both females and males from the six immigrant groups have higher employment rates at the end of the period. The gender gap shows that males have higher employment levels than females. The largest gap is detected for Pakistan and Turkey. The employment rates for young immigrants aged 16-24 are lower than those for natives. For women we see no positive development over time, but for males an increasing employment rate is visible. Male and female descendants in this age group have lower employment rates than natives, but higher employment rates than their immigrant counterparts. Following the cohort of 25-39 year-old immigrants over time from 1998 to 2003 to 2008, increasing employment levels can be observed for both females and males. The exceptions are Pakistani and Somali males, which show no increasing employment levels between 2003 and 2008. The unemployment rate for both immigrant females and males drops during the ten-year period, with the exception of Iraqi and Somali immigrants. Female youth unemployment also drops over time for most immigrant groups, again with the exception of Somali immigrants. For males, youth unemployment also decreases. The exceptions here are Iraqi, Somali and native males. Descendant unemployment levels are mainly in parity with or lower than native levels. Inactivity is higher for all immigrant groups compared to natives. However, the inactivity rate drops substantially over the period. With regard to the third objective of the study – to provide insights into the impact of selected public policies and practices, particularly those pertaining to immigration and integration on the chosen aspects of change and integration – we can highlight the following issues. No particular integration policy aimed at immigrant groups deals with demographic aspects. The observed change in the demographic behaviour of the descendants of the six immigrant groups, albeit to differing degrees, is voluntary and shows an adaption to the behaviour of the population in general. Integration policies have a strong focus on educational and labour market integration in Sweden. In addition to the general positive economic business cycle, the economic integration of six immigrant groups and their descendents shows a gradual positive development. Integration policies aimed at immigrants and education policies aimed at the population in general have also had an effect on the successive larger educational enrolment of immigrants and their descendents.
Publisher Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM) and Department of International Migration and Ethnic Relations (IMER), Malmö University
Series/Issue Current Themes in IMER Research;12
ISSN 1652-4616
ISBN 978-91-7104-430-3
Pages 78
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) population
developing countries
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/13678 (link to this page)
Buy print http://webshop.holmbergs.com...13678 (print-on-demand service)

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