African immigrants to Sweden

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Africans in Sweden
Total population
110,758 (2016)[1]
Regions with significant populations
languages of Africa, Swedish, English
Christianity, Islam

African Swedish include naturalized citizens and residents of Sweden who were born in Africa. As of 2016, there are 110,758 people of at least partial African descent, or residents of African countries, in Sweden.[1]


African immigrants have been living in Sweden since the 17th century,[2] but in very few numbers. In 1900, there were 79 Africans in Sweden, of which 5, all South Africans, were citizens.[3] 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.[2]

In the 1880s, a circus performer named John Hood moved from the US to Sweden. It is unclear if John Hood was of complete African descent or if he was half-European. Hood was the great-great-grandfather of Frederik Reinfeldt, who was prime minister of Sweden from 2006-2014. With either 1/16 or 1/32 African blood, Reinfeldt was the first head of state in any European country to be known to have black ancestry.

The 1970s, 1980s and 1990s saw increasing immigration from Africa, often as a consequence of civil wars.[4] Swedish statistical data show that the African-born population has grown from 596 in 1960 to 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.[5][6] According to Statistics Sweden, as of 2016, there are 110,758 citizens of African nations residing in Sweden.[1] Of these immigrants, the largest groups were born in Somalia (63,853), Eritrea (35,142), Ethiopia (17,944), Morocco (9,945), Egypt (6,807), Gambia (5,055), and Nigeria (5,027).[7] Of these individuals, the largest groups were those holding citizenship from Somalia (41,335), Eritrea (32,099), Ethiopia (6,225), Nigeria (3,440), Egypt (3,359), Morocco (3,099), and Gambia (1,971).[1]


Swedish families have been adopting children from Ethiopia since 1969. Between 1969 and 2005, 1,015 Ethiopian children found new parents in Sweden.[8] 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.[9] News anchor Katarina Sandström,[10] TV-comedian Marika Carlsson[11] and restaurateur and celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson[12] are three well-known Swedes adopted from Ethiopia. Television sports journalist David Fjäll and is another well-known Swedish person adopted from Africa.[13]

Notable people[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]



Football players[edit]

Other sports[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Foreign citizens by country of citizenship, sex and year". Statistics Sweden. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b Diakité, Madubuko A. (2005). "African diasporas in Sweden: An unfinished history" (PDF). The Lundian. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2010-08-17.
  3. ^ a b "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. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Simon, Patrick (2007). "'Ethnic' statistics and data protection in the Council of Europe countries: Study report" (PDF). Strasbourg: Council of Europe. p. 36.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "Foreign-born persons by country of birth, sex and year". Statistics Sweden. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  8. ^ "Information och intryck från några ursprungsländer" [Information and impressions from some countries of origin] (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2010.
  9. ^ "Fler villiga adoptera äldre barn" [More willing to adopt older children] (in Swedish). 6 April 2010. Archived from the original on 10 April 2010. Retrieved 27 August 2010.
  10. ^ "När jag var riktigt liten ville jag bli präst".
  11. ^ " nyheter 091022 Intervju med Marika Carlsson".
  12. ^ "Marcus Samuelsson ofAquavit : Biography and Swedish Recipes on StarChefs".
  13. ^ Fjäll, David. "David Fjäll - programledare "Lilla Sportspegeln"" [David Fjäll - TV show host of "Little Sportspegeln"] (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 12 June 2011. Retrieved 27 August 2010.
  14. ^ "Monk möter Buba Badjie".
  15. ^ "Veterinärvård Bromma - Din djurklinik i Bromma". Bromma Djurklinik.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2010-08-28.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-01-31. Retrieved 2010-11-22.
  18. ^ Lindén, Maria. "Djs: Elena & Maria". Archived from the original on 31 January 2011.
  19. ^ "Lady Gaga's Next Album Will Be 'Shocking,' Producer RedOne Says".
  20. ^ "R. Mukiibi". Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  21. ^ Sjöö, Patrick (5 February 2016). "ÖFK:s nyförvärv Ken Sema i stor intervju – hyllar föräldrarna: 'De flyttade till Sverige för att ge sina barn ett bra liv'" [ÖFK's new acquisition Ken Sema in a long interview - pays tribute to his parents: 'They moved to Sweden to give their children a good life'] (in Swedish). Retrieved 26 August 2017.