20240221 sweden
The fertility rate in the Scandinavian country is at an all-time low. (For illustrative purposes only) Image Credit: Pixabay

Stockholm: Sweden's population grew by 30,200 people to 10.5 million last year, the smallest population increase in absolute terms since 2001, official statistics showed Thursday, as the country has sought to curb immigration.

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A combination of "a decrease in the number of births, a lower number of immigrations as well as a higher number of emigrations are the reasons for the lower population increase during 2023 compared to previous years," Statistics Sweden said.

According to the agency, 94,500 people immigrated to Sweden last year, an eight percent decrease from the previous year, while 73,400 people emigrated from the country, a 45 percent increase.

The coalition government, led by Ulf Kristersson of the Moderate Party but relying on the support of the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, has pledged to limit migration since coming to power in 2022.

At the same time, the fertility rate in the Scandinavian country is at an all-time low, at 1.45 children per woman last year, according to the statistics agency.

A total of 100,100 births were recorded last year.

Experts say that if the trend continues, the working population will eventually start to shrink, putting a strain on the country's welfare system.

Nordic countries still have some of the highest fertility rates in Europe, according to Eurostat's most recent data.

In 2021, Sweden's fertility rate was 1.67 children per woman, above the EU average of 1.53 and significantly higher than countries in southern Europe such as Spain, which had a fertility rate of 1.19.

Those rates are well below the threshold of 2.1 that experts say is needed to maintain population levels.