African immigrants to Sweden

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African immigration to Sweden
Nyamko Sabuni.0c194 1236.jpg
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Total population
103 077 per 2009
Christianity, Islam

African immigrants to Sweden include naturalized citizens and residents of Sweden who were born in Africa. 103,077 African-born people were resident in Sweden as of 2009.


African immigrants have been living in Sweden since the 17th century.[1] One of the early documented Africans in Sweden was Gustav Badin, (1747 or 1750 to 1822), a black court-servant and diarist, originally a slave, butler of Queen of Sweden, Louisa Ulrika and later Princess Sophia Albertine of Sweden.[1]

The 1970s, 1980s and 1990s saw increasing immigration from Africa, often as a consequence of civil wars.[2] Statistics Sweden data show that the African-born population has grown from 4,149 in 1970 to 10,025 in 1980, 27,343 in 1990, 55,138 in 2000 and 103,077 in 2009.[3]

Population size[edit]

Swedish national statistics collect data on country of birth, citizenship and parents' citizenship, but not on ethnicity or parents' country of birth.[4][5] According to Statistics Sweden, in 2009 there were 103,077 Swedish residents who were born in Africa. Of these, the largest group were those born in Somalia, numbering 31,734, followed by Ethiopia (13,052), Eritrea (8,963) and Morocco (7,038).[3] In 2009, the number of people in Sweden holding citizenship from a country in Africa was 54,215. The largest group amongst these migrants were those holding Somali citizenship (24,699 people), followed by Eritrean (5,017), Ethiopian (3,575), and Burundian (2,172) citizenship.[3] It is important to stress that there are no numbers or statistics concerning Swedish born citizens with one or two parents born in Africa.


Swedish families have been adopting children from Ethiopia since 1969. Between 1969 and 2005, 1,015 Ethiopian children found new parents in Sweden.[6] The interest in adopting children from Africa has been increasing, with increases in the numbers of children adopted from South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Madagascar.[7] News anchor Katarina Sandström,[8] TV-comedian Marika Carlsson[9] and restaurateur and celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson[10] are three well-known Swedes adopted from Ethiopia. Television sports journalist David Fjäll and is another well-known Swedish person adopted from Africa.[11]

Notable African immigrants and their descendants[edit]

The following list includes notable people in Sweden with recent ancestry from Africa.


  • Alice Bah Kuhnke (Minister of Culture and Democracy)
  • Nyamko Sabuni (politician, former serving as Minister for Integration and Gender Equality in the Swedish government)
  • Joe Frans (politician, board professional and former member of parliament.)
  • Mariam Osman Sherifay (politician, social activist, pre-school teacher and former member of parliament)

Television, film and theatre[edit]


Fine arts[edit]

  • Daniel Dahlberg Traore (Painter)[30]


Football players[edit]

Other sports[edit]


  1. ^ a b Diakité, Madubuko A. (2005). "African diasporas in Sweden: An unfinished history" (PDF). The Lundian. 
  2. ^ Nilsson, Åke (2004). "Invandring och utvandring för grupperav länder". Efterkrigstidens invandring och utvandring [Immigration and Emigration in the Postwar Period] (PDF) (in Swedish). Stockholm: Statistiska centralbyrån. pp. 32–48. 
  3. ^ a b c "Tabeller över Sveriges befolkning 2009" [Tables on the population in Sweden 2009] (PDF) (in Swedish). Örebro: Statistiska centralbyrån. June 2010. pp. 20–27. ISSN 1654-4358. 
  4. ^ Simon, Patrick (2007). "'Ethnic' statistics and data protection in the Council of Europe countries: Study report" (PDF). Strasbourg: Council of Europe. p. 36. 
  5. ^ Westin, Charles (June 2006). "Sweden: Restrictive immigration policy and multiculturalism". Migration Information Source. Archived from the original on 5 August 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2010. 
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