Immigrants' dependence on economic assistance in Sweden 1950-1968

Daniel Rauhut, University West

Today immigrants, and especially refugees, are dependent on economic assistance to a relatively higher extent than natives in Sweden as well as in many other countries. There is a nostalgic perception that this was not the case in Sweden during the 1950’s and 1960’s when the demand for labour was huge and anyone who wanted a job could get one. Hence the immigrants’ dependence on economic assistance in Sweden should then be relatively low. The aim of this paper is to discuss the immigrants’ dependency on economic assistance in Sweden for the years 1950, 1959, 1964 and 1968. The immigrants will be analysed in two groups: Nordic citizens, who were labour immigrants, and non-Nordic citizens, in which the share of refugees was huge. The results of these two groups will be contrasted against the results for all recipients of economic assistance in Sweden during the same period. Not only the duration of dependence, but also to what extent the economic assistance was an income supplement or the only source of income will be analysed. The empirical material consists of the annual reports on poverty and economic assistance (SOS Fattigvård, SOS Socialvård, SOS Socialhjälpen), a special examination 1950 by the Royal Board of Social Welfare (Kungliga Socialstyrelsen), two major investigations on social help made in 1959 and 1968 by the Royal Board of Social Welfare. The theories used in the analysis are the New Economics of Migration and the Dual Labour Market Theory.

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Presented in Session 73: Immigration and the welfare state