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How many people got Swedish citizenship in 2022 and where were they from?

Just under 90,000 people became Swedish citizens in 2022. Which countries were most people from and how does this compare to previous years?

How many people got Swedish citizenship in 2022 and where were they from?
Swedish passports. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Last year, the number of new Swedish citizens reached 89,967 – an increase on 2021. This figure includes secondary applicants – children who were granted citizenship in a joint application with their parent – as well as people whose application was rejected by the Migration Agency but approved by an appeals court.

The Migration Agency received a total of 88,968 applications in 2022 (not including secondary applicants), and 94,292 were processed, including applications received in previous years. Of these, 78,201 were approved, 13,230 were rejected, 572 were listed as “invalid” and 2,289 were in the “other” category.

This is also an increase on 2021, when 71,229 citizenship applications were approved.

The average time for an application to be processed, according to Migration Agency figures, had risen to 431 days, (356 in 2021 and 376 in 2020), with the median time for processing dropping to 256 days (compared to 330 in 2021 and 315 in 2020). An average of 83 percent of applications were successful.

“We’ve managed to change the trend and shorten the processing time for citizenship,” Migration Agency general director Mikael Ribbenvik said, referring to the drop in the median processing time.


Of those who became Swedish citizens in 2022 (including children receiving citizenship alongside a parent), 21.7 percent came from Syria (19,501).

The next most common countries of origin for applicants in the top ten were Eritrea (8,500), Somalia (5,954), Afghanistan (5,623), Iraq (3,197), India (2,879), Poland (2,085), Iran (1,848), Turkey (1,678) and Thailand (1,541). This top ten is almost identical to last year, when Germany was in the top ten instead of Turkey.

In November 2022, Sweden had a population of 10,520,558 according to Statistics Sweden, meaning 2022’s new Swedish citizens represent less than one percent of the population.

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Swedish students’ maths and reading scores plunge in Pisa world rankings

The performance of Swedish teenagers has plummeted in maths and reading according to the latest Pisa world rankings, reversing much of the country's improvement in recent years.

Swedish students' maths and reading scores plunge in Pisa world rankings

Swedish ninth-graders (15-year-olds) scored 482 in mathematics (down 21 points compared to the latest survey in 2018) and 487 in reading (down 19 points on 2018) in 2022. Their results remained within the margins of error in science, with a score of 494 (down 6 points).

Sweden’s results are now only marginally better than they were in 2012, when they dropped so sharply that they provoked scathing criticism and calls for reforms of the school system. The country then managed to improve its results in 2018, leading to a collective sigh of relief.

Unlike in 2012, the new drop follows a global trend, the head of the Swedish National Agency for Education pointed out at a press conference. Sweden remains above the OECD average in all three subjects, which wasn’t the case when the 2012 survey was carried out.

School closures during the Covid-19 pandemic were one factor behind the unprecedented decrease across the OECD, with Pisa finding that “students in systems that spared more students from longer closures scored higher in mathematics and reported a greater sense of belonging at school”.

Fifteen percent of students in Sweden reported that their school building was closed for more than three months during the pandemic, compared to 51 percent of OECD students on average.

But school closures don’t appear to have been a decisive factor, with Sweden’s results falling more sharply than the OECD average (maths -15, reading -10, and no significant change in science).

The general decline also began before the pandemic, and some countries, such as Japan, were able to maintain or even improve their results in 2022 compared to the 2018 survey.

Perhaps more worrying for Sweden is the inequality when it comes to the best performers and the worst performers, between whom the gaps widened in both science and mathematics.

Socio-economically advantaged students in Sweden outperformed disadvantaged students by 99 score points in mathematics according to Pisa, which was similar to the OECD average.

Around 25 percent of all students in the study came from socio-economically disadvantaged homes, with the corresponding share higher at 48 percent among students with an immigrant background (parents born outside of Sweden).

But even when socio-economic factors were removed, non-immigrant students still outperformed their immigrant classmates by 34 score points in mathematics, and 49 points in reading.

A clear gender divide was also noted, with girls outperforming boys by 37 points in reading. In mathematics, 28 percent of boys and 26 percent of girls were considered low performers. But in reading, 18 percent of girls and 30 percent of boys recorded low scores.

Globally, Singapore topped the table in all three subjects. In the Nordics, Finland scored the highest in both reading and science (490 and 511) and Denmark scored the highest in mathematics (489).