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Lowest population growth in 15 years during the coronavirus pandemic

| Press releases

The coronavirus pandemic appears to have a clear impact on Sweden’s population figures. To date, the population growth in 2020 is the lowest in 15 years, according to new statistics from Statistics Sweden. “In the first six months, both the immigration and the birth surplus was halved compared with the same period in 2019,” says Tomas Johansson, statistician at Statistics Sweden.

At the end of June 2020, Sweden’s population was 10 352 390, which is 24 801 persons more than at the end of 2019.

“That is the lowest population growth for the first six months of a year since 2005,” says Tomas Johansson, population statistician at Statistics Sweden.

As recently as 2019, the corresponding figure was 51 004 persons.
Sweden’s population is measured as the number of persons registered in Sweden. This sum is affected by immigration, emigration, and the number of births and deaths. In the first six months of the year, fewer persons immigrated, and there were more deaths than in recent years.

“The number of deaths in early 2020 was slightly lower than in the most recent years. However, that changed once the coronavirus pandemic reached Sweden in February,” Tomas Johansson notes.

Excess mortality

In the first six months of the year, there were 51 405 deaths in Sweden. That is the highest number of deaths in the first six months of a year since 1869, when there were 55 431 deaths. It is even 4 633 more deaths than the average for the years 2015–2019.

Levels that are higher than the average for the years 2015–2019 are defined by Statistics Sweden as excess mortality. In the first six months of 2020, excess mortality reached 10 percent.

“Among men, excess mortality was 13 percent, and 7 percent among women,” Tomas Johansson explains.

The number of deaths increased sharply from the end of March and reached a peak in mid-April. The number of deaths subsequently dropped, although at the end of June, a small excess mortality rate still persisted in Sweden.

In April, there were 10 543 deaths, which corresponds to 101.9 deaths per 100 000 inhabitants. This was the highest number of deaths in relation to the population since January 2000, when there were 9 822 deaths, which corresponds to 107.3 deaths per 100 000 inhabitants. (This calculation is standardised to enable comparison between months of different lengths.)

“In absolute numbers, we have to go as far back as December 1993, which noted 11 057 deaths, to find a month with more deaths than April 2020,” says Tomas Johansson.

Natural population growth

The highest number of deaths in combination with slightly fewer births in the first six months of the year resulted in a halved birth surplus compared with the same period in 2019.

“In the first six months of the year, 112 municipalities noted a natural population growth, that is, there were more births than deaths. In 174 municipalities, the population decreased, and in four municipalities there was an equal number of births and deaths,” explains Linus Garp, population statistician at Statistics Sweden.

Immigration to Sweden in the first six months of the year amounted to 36 058 persons, the lowest figure since 2005.

“Compared with the corresponding period in 2019, this is a decrease of 34.7 percent. Emigration was also lower than a year ago, but that decrease was must smaller, which explains the exceptionally low immigration surplus,” says Linus Garp.

The coronavirus pandemic also appears to have affected Swedes’ love life. In the first six months of the year, there were significantly fewer marriages than a year ago. There were 16 390 marriages, which is 22 percent less than last year.

“This is the lowest number of marriages in the first six months of a year throughout the 2000s. At the same time, there were 12 999 divorces, which is the highest number since 2013,” says Linus Garp.

Read more in the statistical news at scb.se

Facts: Population and excess mortality

The population growth is here defined as the difference between the population on 31 December 2019 and 30 June 2020.

Excess mortality is defined as the number of deaths compared with the average number of deaths in the corresponding period in the most recent five-year period. The comparison period was chosen based on the fact that the age and sex composition and the population size are relatively unchanged.

Links:

Low population growth in Sweden during the coronavirus pandemic

Contact

Tomas Johansson

Telephone
+46 10 479 64 26
E-mail
tomas.johansson@scb.se

Linus Garp

Telephone
+46 10 479 66 56
E-mail
befolkning@scb.se

Johannes Cleris, Press officer

Telephone
+46 72 084 40 83
E-mail
johannes.cleris@scb.se