Sweden’s population growth slows to lowest level since 2005

Sweden's population growth slows to lowest level since 2005
Both immigration and new births fell in the first half of 2020. Photo: Naima Helén Jåma/TT
The population in Sweden grew at its slowest rate in 15 years in the first half of the year, new figures show.

Sweden's population grew by 24,801 people in the first six months of 2020, according to new data by national number-crunchers Statistics Sweden – the lowest population increase since 2005.

To compare, in the same six months of 2019, the population of Sweden grew by 51,004 people.

The slowdown is due to a few different factors, which can mostly be traced to the coronavirus pandemic.

A total of 51,405 people died in Sweden between January and June, the largest number of deaths in those months since 1869 (when 55,431 people died, although Sweden's population was much smaller at the time).

Excess mortality during the first half of the 2020 stood at 10 percent compared to the previous five years, according to Statistics Sweden, peaking during the height of the coronavirus outbreak with excess mortality figures of 38 percent in April.

It's clearly higher than previous years, but it's hard to draw exact comparisons. Sweden normally sees the most deaths during the winter flu season, which means April is usually a low-fatality month in non-coronavirus times.

Excess mortality during the Spanish Flu in 1918/19 was generally higher, writes Statistics Sweden, but that pandemic mostly hit Sweden during winter, so is not a huge part of historic January-June statistics.

Meanwhile, slightly fewer children have been born so far this year compared to 2019. In total, 58,265 children were born in January-June, meaning that Sweden's net births halved from 13,739 last year to 6,860 people.

Sweden also saw net migration drop to its lowest levels in the first half of the year since 2005, which is unsurprisingly believed to be a direct consequence of worldwide coronavirus travel restrictions. A total of 36,058 people immigrated to Sweden in January-June, a decrease of 34.7 percent compared to last year.

Emigration, 21,289 people, also fell, but only by 0.9 percent compared to last year.

Sweden's total population stood at 10,352,390 people in mid-2020, according to Statistics Sweden. This, as well as the figures above, include only people who were registered as living in the country at the time (folkbokförda).


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