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20 February 2012

Business Globalization Leads To Increase Of Swedish Migration

Film poster The United States is the country with most users of kalmstrom.com products in the world, even more than in Sweden though kalmstrom.com Business Solutions is a Swedish brand.

However, some of the US users might have Swedish roots, because during the 19th century around 1.3 million Swedes moved to USA. Most of them settled down west and northwest of Chicago. The poster is from the film based on the Swedish author Vilhelm Moberg's Emigrant tetralogy .

Hunger an earlier cause for leaving Sweden
Today I read an in a Swedish leading newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, that 51.179 persons left the country in 2011, which is even more than during the earlier top year of 1887. In those days the reasons for the emigration were population growth and crop failures but also oppression from church and society. The US had no established state church or monarchy and offered good quality farm land at a low cost and high paying jobs in mechanical industries, so even though the journey over the Atlantic was a perilous one, many were willing to brave it for a better future.

Today work is the main reason
Nowadays the reasons for leaving Sweden are different. No one has to starve in Sweden, and we have a democracy where people can express themselves freely. The major cause for emigration today is the general globalization ‒ the world is getting smaller. Swedish companies move abroad, and people have a tendency to look for employment in other countries more often than before.

China new receiving country
The migration mainly goes to Nordic and English speaking countries, but 1.787 people also moved to China last year. Another country popular among Swedes is Spain.

"Climate refugees"
Polar BearSweden is a cold country even if we don’t have the proverbial polar bears walking on the streets. Therefore another reason for immigration is longing for a warmer climate. A group of Swedish pensioners live in southern Spain permanently or during the winter.

Also younger Swedes try to make a living in Spain, and if you can work from home this is no problem. Sigge and I were Spanish residents for ten years, and before that we spent the winters in Spain. As a matter of fact I am writing this post from Spain also.

Many move back again
We enjoyed living in Spain, but as the summers grew too hot for us we decided to move back and we now have a permanent home in Sweden. This is another big difference compared to the 19th century: hundred years ago you stayed in the new country, but today we have other possibilities. As Swedes are not forced to leave their country by political tyranny or hunger they are also free to move back. Many work or study abroad for some years and then return to Sweden.
Cistrose
Living abroad widens your mind
In my opinion this trend of migration is a positive one. After living in Spain Sigge and I have another view on life and a better understanding for other ways of doing things.

I hope we have also given something to the Spanish community, which has been so open and welcoming to us. In the same way other immigrants can bring something good to their new countries and take important experiences back with them when they return home.