The Baltic Region

2020 Vol. 12 №2

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Impact of external migration on changes in the Swedish religious landscape



For most of its history, Sweden has been a country dominated by the Lutheran Church, having the status of the official state religion. Starting in mid-to-late 20th century, mass immigration to Europe had a considerable impact on the confessional structure of Sweden’s population. The growing number of refugees from the Balkan Peninsula, the Middle East, and Africa has turned Sweden into a multi-religious state. Sweden has become one of the leaders among the EU countries as far as the growth rates of adherents of Islam are concerned. Immigrants are exposed to adaptation difficulties causing their social, cultural and geographical isolation and making relatively isolated migrant communities emerge. This study aims at finding correlation between the changes in the confessional structure of Swedish population (as a result of the growing number of non-Christians) and the geographical structure of migrant flows into the country. This novel study addresses the mosaic structure of the Swedish religious landscape taking into account the cyclical dynamics of replacement of Protestantism by Islam. The methods we created make it possible to identify further trends in the Sweden’s religious landscape. This study adds to results of the complex sociological and demographic studies of the confessional structure of the Swedish population.