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2020 saw the lowest population growth in 15 years

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Sweden’s population grew by 0.5 percent during the pandemic year 2020, according to official population statistics published by Statistics Sweden today. This makes it the smallest population increase in 15 years.

In 2020, the population grew by 51 706 people. At the end of 2020, Sweden’s population was 10 379 295 people.

“The population increase is nearly half as large as in the previous year. We have to go back to 2005 to find a smaller increase in the population, both in relative and absolute numbers. In 2005, Sweden’s population increased by 36 360 people, which corresponds to 0.4 percent,” says Linus Garp, population statistician at Statistics Sweden.

In December, Sweden’s population decreased by 2 980 people. This is only the second time in the 2000s that Sweden experiences a decrease in the population over a month. Last time this happened was in January 2000, when the population decreased by 1 836 people.

Less immigration and more deaths

The low population growth in 2020 is due to lower natural increase - that is, there are more births than deaths - and lower net migration than in the previous year.

“2020 saw the lowest number of immigrants recorded since 2005. At the same time, slightly more people emigrated in 2020 than a year earlier,” explains Linus Garp.

Positive net migration, that is, more people entering than leaving Sweden, decreased by 50.7 percent in 2020 compared with 2019. The excess of births decreased by 41.9 percent.

“The number of births was roughly the same in 2020 as in 2019, which means the drop in natural increase is nearly entirely due to an increase in the number of deaths.”

More than the average

There were 98 124 deaths in 2020, which is 10.5 percent (9 358 deaths) more than in 2019.

“This should be seen in the light of a relatively low number of deaths in Sweden in 2019. The number of deaths during a year changes over time, which has been clear in recent years. In 2018, for example, the number of deaths was relatively high.”

Compared with the 2015–2019 five-year average, the number of deaths was 7.9 percent higher in 2020.

“Compared with the preceding years, the number of deaths was higher mainly in the higher ages. In 2020, the largest difference was among men older than 75 years. In the age group 75–84 years, the number of deaths was 20.6 percent higher than in the five-year comparison period,” says Linus Garp.

It is not easy to place the number of deaths in a historical context. Sweden’s population has grown considerably over time, but the number of deaths over time has not changed to the same extent.

The average number of deaths during the period 2000–2009 was 92 186 people. In the period 2010–2019, there were 90 655 deaths on average.

The decline in the average number of deaths in the face of a growing population is in part due to a considerable increase in the population as a result of positive net migration. This has primarily involved the younger part of the population, and has thereby only had a marginal effect on the number of deaths. However, the decline in the average number of deaths is mostly due to a significant decrease over time in the probability of death at different ages.

“Beyond population growth, the number of deaths over time is affected by medical advances, diseases, and life style factors. The number of deaths is also affected by how many inhabitants there are at the ages in which most deaths occur.”

Read more in the statistical news at

Facts: Sweden’s population in 2020

At the end of 2020, Sweden’s population was 10 379 295 people, which is an increase of 0.5 percent (51 706 people) compared with the end of 2019.

Women accounted for 49.7 percent and men accounted for 50.3 percent of the population.

There were 98 124 deaths in 2020. Among these deaths, 49 381 were men and 48 743 were women. Between 1998 and 2019, there were more deaths among women than among men every year. Between 1948 and 1997, there were more deaths among men than among women every year.


Smallest population increase in 15 years


Linus Garp

+46 10 479 66 56

Tomas Johansson

+46 10 479 64 26

Johannes Cleris, Press officer

+46 72 084 40 83