In contrast to its neighboring countries, Swedish immigration policies are less strict, and many refugees naturally sought new paths in Sweden in the wake of the Syrian Civil War in 2015. As a result, Syrians constitute the largest foreign-born group in Sweden, with roughly 194,000 people as of 2020. In the past years, the number of asylum seekers decreased drastically, although immigration numbers continue to be historically high. Apart from asylum seekers and refugees, Swedish-borns returning to Sweden as well as working- and student immigration also contribute to a positive migration flow in the country. In fact, most residence permits are granted to workers, students, and people applying for family reunification, compared to only few asylum seekers.
The positive migration flow has also led to an increase in population with a foreign background. Out of the around 10.4 million people inhabiting Sweden, roughly 2.67 million inhabitants had a foreign background, while about two million were born in a different country. The highest proportion of the foreign-born population came from Asia, followed by Europe, and Africa. Over 80,100 people obtained Swedish citizenships in 2020, of which most were males. Looking back 10 years, the number of citizenship acquisitions have nearly tripled, also contributing to the vast population increase.