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Statistics suggest that native Swedes will be a minority in their own country in 45 years – why is hardly anyone talking about it?

Research showing an unabated rise in immigration and higher birth rates among foreigners than native Swedes has one academic suggesting drastic action is needed to save Swedish culture.

The latest academic research that suggests Swedes will be a minority in their own country in less than 50 years should give those who live in what was once Europe’s most homogenous nation plenty of food for thought. 

That eventuality could signal the subjugation of Swedish culture, ironically a victim of its own obsession with multiculturalism, but to even mention that invites reproach as there still exists a high level of sensitivity – a level that almost reaches taboo status – about even discussing this seismic change.

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Finnish academic Dr Kyösti Tarvainen is not shy about having that talk. But before considering his argument, it does need to be noted that the good doctor is not a statistician or an anthropologist, he’s a retired Doctor of Engineering at Helsinki’s Aalto University. This is just a side gig. 

Using what he says is a standard demographic method, his figures in the very interesting 2018 Bulletin of Geography show that by 2065, the total of native Swedes will have dipped a few hundred thousand from current numbers to around 7,364,000 while the number of Muslims (forecast as 3,903,000) and those either born abroad or to two foreign-born parents (3,791,000) will have increased significantly from existing levels. 

A quick glance shows native Swedes outnumbered.

Writing for Sweden’s Folkbladet, Tarvainen says, “According to the two demographic methods, the ethnic Swedes will thus become a minority in 45 years if the current immigration continues. According to the calculation with the exact model, there will be as many Muslims as ethnic Swedes in 2100.” 

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Historically, the largest immigrant group in Sweden was the Finns, who intermarried and merged with the existing, culturally similar population. This is no longer the situation. In 2019, the doctor points out that 88% of Sweden’s immigrants were non-Westerners and of 52 percent were Muslims, which, he says, “means parallel societies with parallel cultures and ways of life. The immigrants unwilling to assimilate create many problems for the majority population. They give rise to reduced trust and social cohesion.” 

Tarvainen suggests that the rise in Muslim immigration will continue, with more migrants encouraged to follow those already in Sweden, and aided by higher birth rates within that expanding community – a full percentage point higher than native and non-Muslim rates, according to his figures – the result will inevitably be that “Swedish society and culture will lose their leading position.” 

So, how to save Sweden? It can’t all be down to Greta Thunberg and her spirited defence of Ikea meatballs. But neither is the answer found in Dr Tarvainen’s insistence that the solution lies in Swedish immigration policy. 

That’s too easy and only addresses half the issue. Surely the lack of social integration within Swedish society is the more serious matter that needs attention, because experience elsewhere shows parallel societies are not just a problem in Sweden.  

Just across the Øresund Bridge, Denmark has taken a hard line on migrant communities that refuse efforts to integrate within wider society. In one initiative, it is using a controversial ‘ghetto plan’ to cap the number of non-Westerners in troubled neighbourhoods. 

And in France, the government introduced ‘anti-separatism’ laws aimed at breaking down cultural barriers that prevent migrants assimilating into French secular society.

The Pew Research Center projects that Muslims will be the fastest-growing major religious group by far, with an estimated rise of 70 percent in population size, compared with just 34 percent of Christians in second spot by 2060. In 2010, the Muslim population in Europe was put at around 43 million.

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There is no practical nor ethical way of implementing an immigration policy based on religion. The Inquisition ended in 1826. No one-size-fits-all strategy exists to deal with the lack of social cohesion in modern Western societies. Immigration policy is not the answer, and of course, within the confines of the wider European Union migration strategy, it’s not even an option so governments must be creative. 

But first, they have to commit to the tough conversation, freed from accusations of being anti-Muslim, racist or of attempting unethical experiments in social engineering. Only then can solutions be found. Anyone want to start?

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