Researchers have explained immigrants’ swelling pride in their new home country with elevated living standards and longer life expectancy.
A majority of immigrants from overseas countries are very proud to be Swedish, scoring even higher than the country’s overall population, a new report published in conjuction with Sweden’s National Day has shown. Incidentally, immigrants also are more enthusiastic about Sweden’s National Day.
In the global research project World Values Survey (WVS), which interviewed 6,516 people from overseas countries living in Sweden, wholly 53 percent said they were “very proud” of being Swedish, while 57 percent said they felt “at home in Sweden”. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, immigrants from Somalia, Eritrea, and Afghanistan appeared to have a greater pride in Sweden than the Swedes themselves.
Puranen attributed this spike in Swedish patriotism among immigrants to integration going deeper than ever before. According to Puranen, this group’s life expectancy in Sweden is likely to increase by 10-15 years, which explains some of its satisfaction.
While feeling an affinity with both their country of origin and Sweden, immigrants have a divergent view on a number of issues, compared with the majority population. Many also argue that gender equality and women’s rights have gone foo far in Sweden.
In a similar survey conducted by the very same WVS between 2010 and 2014, only 39.7 percent of the population as a whole, which is majority Swedish, said they were very proud of Sweden. This level of pride has remained relatively stable for the past two decades and is not expected to change any time soon.
The survey has stirred strong reactions among the Swedish public.
“We pay our taxes, work ourselves to death, welfare is being eroded and Sweden is starting to look like the Middle East! Immigrants from overseas countries get everything served on a gold platter at the expense of us, our elderly, our sick, our children! No wonder they are happy and glad!” a lady who goes by the nickname “Religion scholar” tweeted bitterly.
“Well, we are being indoctrinated that nationalism is something ugly, while the rest of the world clearly doesn’t think so”, yet another user tweeted, suggesting that Sweden was “an extreme country”.
“Cheers, Sweden”, a user named The Swedish Paleocon tweeted, posting a photograph of a black man in a traditional Swedish female dress.
Until the post-WII era, immigration to Sweden was mostly limited to Finns. Having started accepting foreign guest workers in the 1960s, Sweden has opened up for mass immigration in the subsequent decades, peaking at 163,000 asylum seekers in 2015 alone. Today, the share of immigrants and their descendants is estimated at about a quarter of Sweden’s population of 10 million.
The Somali diaspora has swelled since the 1990s, as refugees from the Somali Civil War started to arrive in Sweden. Today, the Somali diaspora is estimated at over 60,000, with over half of them retaining their Somali citizenship as well. The Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby has been colloquially nicknamed “Little Mogadishu” for the vast Somali presence.