The number of foreign citizens is affected by the size of immigration in recent years, as well as how many persons receive Swedish citizenship. In 2014, 740 000 persons with foreign citizenship were in Sweden, which corresponds to nearly 8 percent of the total population. Of these, 47 percent were women and 53 percent were men. Nearly 10 percent of the foreign citizens were born in Sweden.
The share of foreign citizens in the registered population has been around 5-6 percent since 1980. In line with the relatively high immigration recently, the share has now surpassed 7 percent.
Share of the population with foreign citizenship 1980–2014
Among the foreign citizens, one in five had Nordic citizenship and about 40 percent of these were Finnish citizens. Last year the number of Syrian citizens more than doubled and accounted for 42 000 of the foreign citizens.
Foreign citizens broken down by the ten largest countries of
|Total||349 436||389 999||739 435|
|Finland||34 509||25 169||59 678|
|Poland||23 283||24 944||48 227|
|Somalia||23 633||23 423||47 056|
|Syria||16 680||25 506||42 186|
|Denmark||16 430||21 976||38 406|
|Norway||17 665||16 817||34 482|
|Germany||13 775||14 397||28 172|
|Iraq||11 892||14 038||25 930|
|Afghanistan||9 005||14 561||23 566|
|Great Britain and|
|5 754||13 596||19 350|
Fewer new citizens after five years of increasing numbers
The number of persons who have received Swedish citizenship has varied over time. During the 1960s about 10 000 people switched citizenships. During the 1980s the number of changes was about 20 000 per year. This figure continued to increase during the 1990s. The number reached a peak during 1998 when 46 500 persons switched citizenships, largely due to the high number of persons from ex-Yugoslavia who switched to Swedish citizenship. During the 2000s the number of persons who received Swedish citizenship has varied from year to year, with a peak notation in 2006 when about 51 000 persons received Swedish citizenship.
In 2014 the number of new Swedish citizens was 43 500, a decrease of 13 percent compared to 2013 when about 50 200 persons became Swedish citizens. Of these new citizens, two out of five had immigrated during 2008 and 2009.
Number of citizenship changes from foreign to Swedish citizenship
Of those who received Swedish citizenship, nearly 37 percent had previously been citizens in an Asian country. 16 percent were EU citizens and nearly as many were previously citizens of an African country. The most common previous citizenship was Iraqi among the new Swedish citizens.
Citizenship changes by country of citizenship at time of application,
the ten largest in 2014
|Total||23 907||19 603||43 510|
|Iraq||4 178||3 115||7 293|
|Finland||2 058||975||3 033|
|Somalia||1 429||1 506||2 935|
|Poland||1 320||1 105||2 425|
|Thailand||1 727||354||2 081|
Nordic residents wait the longest to change citizenship
Persons born in a Nordic country belong to the group who wait the longest to apply for Swedish citizenship. Of those who received Swedish citizenship in 2014, they had lived in Sweden 26 years on average. Finnish persons were above the average and had lived in Sweden slightly more than 29 years. Polish persons were the largest group measured in numbers from the EU outside of the Nordic countries who changed to Swedish citizenship. They had waited for an average of nine years. Iraqis comprised the largest group and changed to Swedish citizenship after six years.
Citizenship changes from foreign to Swedish during 2014,
by region of birth and time in Sweden since immigration
|Region of birth||Years in|
|Nordic countries other than Sweden||26|
|EU28 excluding Nordic countries||10|
|Europe, excluding EU28 and Nordic countries||7|
The table above does not include persons who were born in Sweden or persons who had an unknown date of immigration.
Significant regional differences
The share of foreign citizens in Sweden's municipalities varied at the end of 2014, from less than two percent in Öckerö to 27 percent in Haparanda. Those in Haparanda were mainly Finnish citizens.
The metropolitan areas of Stockholm and Malmö had a relatively large share of persons with foreign citizenship. These persons comprised 10 percent of the population in Greater Stockholm and Greater Malmö, while the corresponding figure was 7 percent in Greater Gothenburg. Foreign citizens comprised 6 percent of the population in the rest of the country.
Foreign citizens in Swedish municipalities 2014