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How many people got Swedish citizenship in 2022 and where were they from?

Just under 90,000 people became Swedish citizens in 2022. Which countries were most people from and how does this compare to previous years?

How many people got Swedish citizenship in 2022 and where were they from?
Swedish passports. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Last year, the number of new Swedish citizens reached 89,967 – an increase on 2021. This figure includes secondary applicants – children who were granted citizenship in a joint application with their parent – as well as people whose application was rejected by the Migration Agency but approved by an appeals court.

The Migration Agency received a total of 88,968 applications in 2022 (not including secondary applicants), and 94,292 were processed, including applications received in previous years. Of these, 78,201 were approved, 13,230 were rejected, 572 were listed as “invalid” and 2,289 were in the “other” category.

This is also an increase on 2021, when 71,229 citizenship applications were approved.

The average time for an application to be processed, according to Migration Agency figures, had risen to 431 days, (356 in 2021 and 376 in 2020), with the median time for processing dropping to 256 days (compared to 330 in 2021 and 315 in 2020). An average of 83 percent of applications were successful.

“We’ve managed to change the trend and shorten the processing time for citizenship,” Migration Agency general director Mikael Ribbenvik said, referring to the drop in the median processing time.


Of those who became Swedish citizens in 2022 (including children receiving citizenship alongside a parent), 21.7 percent came from Syria (19,501).

The next most common countries of origin for applicants in the top ten were Eritrea (8,500), Somalia (5,954), Afghanistan (5,623), Iraq (3,197), India (2,879), Poland (2,085), Iran (1,848), Turkey (1,678) and Thailand (1,541). This top ten is almost identical to last year, when Germany was in the top ten instead of Turkey.

In November 2022, Sweden had a population of 10,520,558 according to Statistics Sweden, meaning 2022’s new Swedish citizens represent less than one percent of the population.

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Why Swedish mums are having children later in life

For Swedish mums, it is now more common to have a child after 45 years of age than as a teenager.

Why Swedish mums are having children later in life

In 2022, 410 children were born to mothers aged 19 or younger, according to number crunchers Statistics Sweden. Meanwhile, 537 children were born to mothers aged 45 or older – the first year in which older mothers outnumbered their teenaged counterparts.

This upward trend began with the introduction of birth control pills in the 1960s, which allowed women greater control over their fertility and family planning.

Access to abortion and Sweden’s shift from an agricultural society to an industrialised one also bolstered the upward demographic trend for maternal age. In 1968, nearly 9,000 babies were born to teen mums, a number that has shrunk significantly over the decades.

This trend is not limited to Sweden. Across the Nordics, parents are waiting longer to have children.

“The upper limit is not as ‘fixed’ anymore,” Gunnar Andersson, a professor of demography at Stockholm University, told Swedish news agency TT. “Previously, there was perhaps an occasional 49-year-old. But with the new treatment methods, children are born to mothers at ages where it was not biologically possible before.”

IVF treatments were introduced in Sweden in the late 1970s, with the first Nordic IVF baby born in 1982 in Gothenburg. Today, both childless couples and single women without children in Sweden can apply for up to three free rounds of IVF at public hospitals.

This publicly-funded treatment for single women and single transgender men who can still reproduce is only available to Swedish citizens or permanent residence holders, according to the Karolinska University Hospital.

And while there are health risks associated with pregnancy at higher ages, overall, it seems that having an older mum can pay off for the children, who tend to born into better socio-economic conditions.

Delaying starting a family allows parents to focus on their education and on establishing their careers and livelihoods, Andersson said.

But sometimes, life happens.

“It may be that you do not find a suitable partner until you are a little older, or have a new relationship,” Andersson said. “You don’t plan to wait to have children until you’re 45.”

But even if the choice to have a baby until later in life is not a deliberate choice, for the child, having an older mum can be a positive thing.

“Children born to slightly older mothers are often better prepared than children born to very young mothers,” Andersson says. “The mothers have better incomes, social resources with a larger network and greater personal maturity.”