In light of Sweden's well-willingness towards immigrants, the subsequent need for a robust integration strategy has been essential. However, few would argue that the Swedish integration strategy has been successful, this is especially apparent when looking at the rise of the Sweden Democrats and their continuous critique against the Swedish immigration policy. The implications from failed integration often display itself as strong ethnic segregation. In the wake of Malmö's high concentration of immigrants, this problem becomes even more prevalent there, and work against segregation in Malmö suddenly becomes very important from an integration perspective.foto: Jesper Ericsson
Sweden has long been a country that has valued a liberal migration strategy, which has led to a fairly high influx of both labor migrants but more recently the majority of the influx has been from asylum seekers and relative immigrants. The third-largest city in Sweden, Malmö, has had a particularly high influx of migrants from different countries around the world. Malmö stad reported that almost 50 percent of the population had a foreign background, including both people born in Sweden with two foreign-born parents and people born outside of Sweden.
In light of Sweden's well-willingness towards immigrants, the subsequent need for a robust integration strategy has been essential. However, few would argue that the Swedish integration strategy has been successful, this is especially apparent when looking at the rise of the Sweden Democrats and their continuous critique against the Swedish immigration policy. The implications from failed integration often display itself as strong ethnic segregation.
Decomposing the segregation in the city of Malmö
Malmö’s large share of immigrants are particularly unique in the Swedish setting, however, Malmö also presents an interesting case about the segregation effects of immigration. Investigating the situation in Malmö could help provide information to policymakers and other cities around Sweden since Malmös large share of immigrants easily could happen to similar cities, in which case analyzing the situation in Malmö can aid to combat potential adverse effects such as segregation.
In a study from 2019, researchers at the University of Malmö, on behalf of Malmö Stad, investigated how segregation in Malmö is decomposed. They examined both segregation from an ethnic and income perspective. They do this by looking at the distribution of housing and households.
In the study they present strong evidence that Malmö is socioeconomically segregated, and compared to Gothenburg and Stockholm, Malmö is to be regarded as a generally poor city. However, the share of socioeconomic segregation is not significantly different from the other two large cities; in fact, socioeconomic segregation is consistent across Sweden, which is to be expected since wealth seemingly is not uniformly distributed across cities. Interestingly, the study finds that Malmö is less ethnically segregated than Stockholm and Gothenburg, however, the ethical segregation is still very apparent and very much tied to income segregation. Implying that immigrants tend to have lower socioeconomic status than citizens born in Sweden, which is consistent with most empirical research on the topic. This is, of course, of significance, especially the potential implications on whether or not the segregation is due to discrimination or some other factors explaining the income differential across Malmö.
What is being done?
The result of their study paints a fairly problematic outlook. Especially the fact that income segregation is very much connected to ethnic segregation. This is also a possible explanation of why the distribution of income is lower in Malmö than in Gothenburg and Stockholm. The delegation against segregation has initiated several projects to combat segregation in Malmö. In the work against segregation, the cooperation of the people living in segregation and their experiences. Interviews with those affected have drawn attention to the necessity of their needs to be fulfilled and incitement to integrate into the Swedish society was a key factor. In addition, it is not clear that segregation necessarily is evidence of discrimination, however, that is a separate topic that has to be dealt with if the work against segregation is to be solved.
Delegationen mot segregation