From labour to refugee immigration and the effects on the settlement pattern in Sweden 1950-2005

Mats Johansson, Royal Institute of Technology
Daniel Rauhut, Nordregio - Nordic Centre for Spatial Development

The aim of this study is to do an analysis, based on periodic data, of the allocation of immigrants in Sweden 1950-2005 in a regional perspective. The point of departure for the analysis is to distinguish if labour immigrants have a different settlement pattern than refugees. Labour immigrants dominated during the first part while refugee immigration dominated during the last part of the period 1950-2005. Both the flow of immigrants and the stock of immigrants are analysed for the years 1950, 1967, 1975, 1990 and 2005. Vacancies, unemployment, labour market participation and economic structure are included in the analyses as explanatory factors. The years 1990 and 2005 also offer possibilities to analyse the impact of the changed immigration policy in Sweden where the immigrants are spread out regionally with effects on the regional settlement pattern. If immigration should be favourable for the receiving country the immigrants must be able to fill the vacancies wherever the vacancies are located geographically. The results show clearly that immigrants have been more evenly distributed regionally although the metropolitan counties still are the dominating areas with regard to the immigrants’ settlement patterns but in a decreasing degree. Regional employment and unemployment rates as well as regional vacancies seem to have little impact on the regional distribution of immigrants in Sweden today. Instead, the most important explanatory variable concerning labour migrants seems to be the structural transformation of the Swedish economy with a decreasing demand for blue-collar workers and formal and institutional factors concerning the settlement pattern of the inflow of refugee immigrants. With regard to the settlement pattern of the immigrant stock traditional, cultural and social factors are more valid as residence motives. Keywords: allocation of immigrants, labour market conditions, immigration flows, stock of immigrants, refugees, labour immigrants, structural transformation.

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Presented in Session 64: Spatial Distribution of Immigrants and Ethnic Groups