Malmö, Sweden: A Case Study In Multiculturalism


Super-Economy, the best of the innumerable Kurdish-Swedish economics blogs, has a good post on the city of Malmö, Sweden.

Among major Scandinavian cities, Malmö has been most effected by multiculturalism. Approximately 41 percent of Malmö’s population consists of first or second generation immigrants. This is a fairly recent developement. In 1960 only around 5 percent of Malmö’s population were foreign born, a similar number as the rest of Sweden at the time.

The large influx of immigrants makes Malmö a suitable “natural” experiment for investigating the aggregate effects of migration. Libertarians and the left argue that immigration benefits Sweden economically, increasing per capita growth and the standard of living. If this theory is true we should expect Malmö to perform well economically.

It’s all downhill (nedförsbacken in Swedish, according to Google Translate) from there.   Malmö is a mess, with low indices on every index of social and economic health. 

And this, as the blogger points out, is in spite of a huge recent infrastructure improvement.

Other than immigration, the most important development in Malmö in recent years is the Öresund-bridge to Denmark and the subsequent integration of the Copenhagen with Malmö. This has benefited the economy and has created a large number of high-skill jobs. Yet despite the new bridge, Malmö has had worse economic performance than Sweden as a whole.

There is a breakdown of immigrant source nations as at the beginning of 2011 here.

On the plus side, mass Third World immigration has made Malmö much more vibrant.