[EN] Video Transcript
Migration tends to bring cultural diversity as immigrants settle and become part of overall society. Sweden is one of the European countries with the most immigration and the largest cultural diversity. Interestingly, Sweden is also the most tolerant country in relation to cultural diversity in Europe and in the context of the Mediterranean region.
How come? How can we explain this?
Migration was high up on the Swedish political agenda, already before the 2015 refugee and migration crisis.
Sweden has a much higher share of its population born abroad around 18,5% than the EU average of 7.2%. Globally, Sweden also has the seventh-highest proportion of refugees per capita.
Integration is a major challenge according to most Swedes. Prior to the 2015 crisis, 77% of respondents felt that everyone in Sweden, including the foreign-born, should have access to and receive equal benefits, while this share had shrunk to 55% by 2016.
In contrast, the Anna Lindh Foundation intercultural trends report, recently found that Sweden scored the highest 81% regarding that respondents did not mind at all if one of their close relatives were to marry someone from a different cultural background. This brings us to the concept of trust. Perspectives differ with regard to the impact of immigration on trust. One view is the so-called contact hypothesis, whereby more diversity brings more interesting contacts and then more tolerance.
The opposite view, the conflict theory holds that the more diverse the society becomes, the more people tend to look inwards towards their in groups. Therefore, we need to acknowledge that there is a large variation also in Sweden between so-called high trustees, medium trustees, and the low trustees.
Since the mid-1990s, a majority of Swedes have been identified as high trustees. The share of low trustees has however increased over the years and measures the highest at 12%.
Young people, blue-collar workers, people with only basic education, supporters of anti-immigrant parties, as well as immigrants from outside Europe tend to be low trustees, in contrast, white-collar workers, the University educated, and those enjoying good health scores as high as 71%. Among high trustees.
In light of these figures, it is important to further explore how high trust can be maintained across various social strata in societies as cultural diversity increases, this appears as equally important across Europe and the Mediterranean region.