The Corner

A New Gothenburg, a New Malmo, A New Stockholm, a New Sweden


In relation to its size, Sweden has long accepted more refugees than any other European country. So when over a million migrants came to Europe last year, with even more on their way this year, a large share sought asylum in Sweden.

Attracted by Stockholm’s generous immigration policies, more than 160,000 migrants applied for refugee status in Sweden in 2015, a per-capita rate more than six times the EU average. The sheer scale of this influx is set to change Sweden in profound ways…

[T]he unprecedented influx of migrants in recent years is already set to rewrite Sweden’s demographic destiny. A new forecast by the country’s statistics agency projects population growth in the next few years that will be the fastest recorded since “a few individual years during the 19th century.”

Earlier forecasts did not foresee such a sudden rise in immigration, which will put Sweden’s population on a faster long-term growth path, given the relative youth and higher fertility rate of many of the new arrivals.

Sweden’s population is now expected to top 10 million next year, with another million added less than a decade later. Compared with forecasts made in 2008, Sweden will be a fifth bigger in 2050 than previously expected—a difference that’s roughly equivalent to current population of Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö combined.

The stresses that such an enormous demographic and, undoubtedly, cultural shift that such a transformation would always have been, well, interesting, but in the post ‘peak labor’ world that technology is now creating. . . . 

And for those, still stuck (like Jeb!) in the economic assumptions of the last century, who believe that Sweden’s (previously) ageing population meant that the country ‘had’ to import a work force, a 2014 blog post from FT Alphaville might be worth a look.

Here’s an extract:

 [B]etween the start of 2005 and the recent consumption tax increase [early 2014], real GDP per person has grown more in Japan than in the US, Canada, the UK, and the euro area, while…real output per working-age adult in Japan has tracked the equivalent figures in the US and Europe quite closely throughout the “lost decades”.

And if household consumption is a proxy for prosperity:

After adjusting for population, real household spending grew more from 1990-2013 in Japan than in every country in our sample except for Sweden, the UK, and US.

Meanwhile, from the Daily Caller, here’s another story involving Sweden and, tragically, Belgium as well. You can decide for yourselves how relevant it is. 

One of the suspects from the March 22 Brussels bombings was the subject of a 2005 documentary on successful integration in Sweden.

Osama Krayem, a 23-year-old Swedish citizen, is awaiting trial in Belgium for his part in the Brussels bombings which killed 32 civilians. Krayem was supposed to be the second suicide bomber at the Maalbeek subway station, but got cold feet.

Along with his brother and father, 11-year-old Osama Krayem were featured in the documentary “Without borders – a movie about sports and integration.” The documentary focused on how Krayem and his brother found their place as immigrants in Malmö, Sweden, by playing soccer with the Swedish boys.

“There are so many positive things to highlight,” Christer Grike, the soccer club’s communication director, told local newspaper Sydsvenskan before the release in 2005. “Unfortunately, the media image is often too dark.”

Eleven years later, Grike said the documentary was meant to show how soccer could integrate immigrants in the Swedish society.

“We wanted to show how important integration is and that it doesn’t have to be harder than just talking to one another,” Grike told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet Friday. “The boys joined the [soccer] club to get a feel for how important it was to get a future job and many other things. The way I understood it, the father wanted the boys to be part of society.”

Krayem’s integration story appeared to be on track throughout his teens. He held a government job as recently as 2013 and worked to open up a preschool in nearby Copenhagen, Denmark.

Friends of the Krayem family said his radicalization appeared rapidly in 2014 when he stopped showing up for work. He travelled to fight for Islamic State in Syria in the spring of 2015, before joining the Brussels terror cell in the fall….


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