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Refugees relocate quickly To main content

Integration: Internal migration among refugees in Sweden

Refugees relocate quickly

Statistical news from Statistics Sweden 2016-12-22 9.30

It is common for refugees to move to one of Sweden’s major cities, either directly on immigration or shortly after. A new report by Statistics Sweden describes migration patterns and gainful employment among refugees who immigrated between 2006 and 2010.

Refugees with a residence permit can either be assigned to a municipality or arrange their own housing. Between 2006 and 2010, those who were assigned to a municipality were often assigned to a municipality outside the major cities, while those who arranged their own housing to a large extent settled in the major cities.

Five years after immigration, every third refugee who had been assigned to a municipality outside the major cities had moved to one of these cities. In those parts of Sweden where the level of refugee reception was relatively high in relation to the population, a high proportion of refugees had often moved away.

Gainful employment

The percentage in gainful employment differs slightly between those who remained in the municipality where they had settled at the time of immigration and those who had moved. Among those who lived in a major city at the time of immigration, about half of the men who had moved to Stockholm, Göteborg, or Malmö after five years were gainfully employed. The participation rate was slightly lower among those who remained. Where immigration occurred to an area without a major city, the percentage of gainfully employed persons was about 50 percent after five years, both among those who remained and among those who had moved to one of the major cities. On the other hand, the percentage was lower among those who have moved to a larger city.

The pattern among women was similar to the pattern among men, although a smaller percentage were gainfully employed. Among women, 27 percent were gainfully employed after five years, while the corresponding figures among men with assigned or own housing was 44 percent and 48 percent respectively.


The report Integration – Internal migration among refugees in Sweden presents where foreign born persons are first entered into the population register and to what extent they moved to another municipality after five years. The report focuses on migration patterns among refugees received by municipalities and who immigrated during different time periods. The report also contains a more detailed analysis on differences and similarities in the participation rate between refugees who remain in the local labour markets where they immigrated and those who have moved to another local labour market.

Immigration to Sweden consists of groups other than refugees. A separate chapter describes were  family member migrants, labour migrants, students and persons born in the European Union or the Nordic countries settle at the time of immigration and their subsequent migration patterns.

Feel free to use the facts from this statistical news but remember to state Source: Statistics Sweden.

Statistical agency and producer

Statistics Sweden, Section for Coordination and Interdisciplinary Operations

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171 54 Solna


Andreas Raneke

+46 10 479 44 83

Binniam Kidane

+46 10 479 49 86