The Swedish government has long been hesitant to speak ill of its questionable decision to welcome a dramatic influx of migrants into the country, but now Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson has conceded that Sweden is facing â€śmajor problemsâ€ť due to the sudden population hike.
During an interview with SVT News, Andersson stated that it is â€śquite obvious that we have big problemsâ€ť due to the demographic upheaval caused by mass immigration. There are now so many children and so many elderly people dependent on social services that by 2020, the government will need to spend a project 40 billion kronor ($4.5 billion) to build schools, homes, and hospitals.
â€śDemographic trends show that, with more children and more elderly people, the need for local government services is expected to grow significantly faster than the tax base,â€ť says Annika Wallenskog, chief economist at the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKL).
Wallenskogâ€™s findings were corroborated by a bombshell report issued by the Office of the Auditor General which warned of a significant economic disaster looming in Swedenâ€™s future if it is not able to expand the tax base and adjust its budget as necessary.
â€śIf the governmentâ€™s forecast would be realized, it would require significant reductions in municipal welfare by 2020,â€ť the report read in part. â€śIf municipalitiesâ€™ expenditures instead should respond to how population size and age compositions change, they need to increase by SEK 50 billion in addition to what is in the governmentâ€™s forecast until 2020.â€ť
Last year alone, Sweden granted citizenship to 60,343 applicants, the bulk of which came from Somalia. There were roughly 2.3 million people with a foreign background in the country as of the end of 2016, an enormous number for a country with a population of just shy of 10 million.