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Immigration and emigration 1960−2016 and forecast 2017−2060



The number of immigrants has varied from year to year, and we can see the significant peaks of labour immigration at the end of the 1960s, refugees from Iran at the end of the 1980s and from Yugoslavia in the beginning of the 1990s. During the 2000s, the number of immigrants has increased because of several reasons: asylum seekers, returning Swedish born persons, immigration due to employment and studies, and family immigration to both Swedish born persons and foreign born persons. The number of emigrants has by and large increased since 1960. This is because the population is larger, more foreign born persons has a high tendency to emigrate and mobility is greater today than previously. In 2016, 163 000 persons immigrated to Sweden while nearly 46 000 left the country.

The high rate of immigration in recent years is expected to continue, mainly due to the political instability in different parts of the world. The civil war in Syria is above all expected to affect migration to Sweden in the near future. The forecast for immigration of asylum seekers is based on the short term of the next five years. The Swedish Migration Agency has made an assumption that many people are expected to seek asylum in Sweden, mainly from the civil war in Syria, but that the conflict will subside after a few years, resulting in a lower immigration of asylum seekers. Immigration of family members is expected to remain at relatively high levels in the short term, and migration within the EU to and from Sweden will continue to increase.

Conflicts and political instability will continue to result in people seeking asylum in Sweden. In the long term, immigration of asylum seekers will be lower in that the number of conflicts around the world is expected to be lower. Concerning the conflicts that in the future will drive people to flee, it is assumed that existing networks and colonial ties will function as important factors to determine where the asylum seekers will go. Many of the future conflicts are expected to occur in places where people have stronger connections to countries other than just Sweden. When immigration of asylum seekers decreases, the number of family members who reunite with those who already sought asylum will also drop. In the long term the drive to emigrate is expected to decrease from a large part of the countries of the world, due to changed population structures. But because it is expected that higher education will be more common, it is assumed that inflows and outflows of migration for employment and studies will continue somewhat.

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