Sweden records lowest population growth since 2005
Published: Feb 23, 2021 09:51 AM

A man wearing a face mask waits for a bus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Stockholm, capital of Sweden, on Nov. 3, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)

Sweden last year recorded the lowest population growth in 15 years, Statistics Sweden announced on Monday.

The population increased by only 0.5 percent, reaching 10,379,295 on Dec. 31.

"This is almost a halving of the population increase compared with the previous year. We have to go back to 2005 to find a smaller increase, both in relative and absolute numbers," demographics statistician Linus Garp told Xinhua.

The statistics revealed that decreased net immigration was the main reason behind the decelerating population growth.

"The number of immigrants in 2020 was the lowest since 2005, while slightly more emigrated than the year before," Garp said.

However, it's also evident that the COVID-19 pandemic -- which has caused 12,649 deaths by Friday, according to the latest available update from the Public Health Agency -- contributed to the slowdown in population growth.

A total of 98,124 deaths were recorded in 2020, an increase of 10.5 percent compared with 2019, Statistics Sweden noted.

"Our statistics do not show the cause of death, but there is a clear correlation with what has been reported by the Public Health Agency," Garp said, adding the number of deaths peaked in April and December.

December 2020 was also the first single month in 20 years that saw a population decrease. On Dec. 31, the population was nearly 3,000 less than at the beginning of the month.

The fact that most of the excess mortality had been recorded among the elderly was also in line with what the Public Health Agency had found.

"The biggest increase in deaths last year was among men aged 75 and older. In the age group 75-84, 20.6 percent more died than during the five-year comparison period (2015-2019)," said Garp.
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