The Baltic Region

2022 Vol. 14 №4

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Refugees from Syria and Iraq in Sweden: resettlement during the migration crisis



The vast increase in the number of forced migrants during the European migration crisis has compelled the receiving countries to concentrate on the issues of migrant reception and accommodation. This study aims to demonstrate how the patterns of settlement of Syrian and Iraqi migrants changed in 2014—2019. We propose a new methodology, building on the Her­findahl-Hirschman index, an indicator of the level and direction of the spatial concentration—deconcentration of migrants, and the Ryabtsev index, which is used to measure the proximity between the settlement structures of migrants and the Swedes. It is established there was a deconcentration of migrants during the crisis (espe­cially in its ascendant phase), carried out by the Swedish authorities. However a reverse process took place in the descendant phase, as a result of self-arranged migrants’ resettlement. The deconcentration of Iraqis and Syrians led to the convergence between the settlement structure typical of immigrants and the Swedes, whilst concentration resulted in divergence accompanied by the emergence of close-knit immi­grant communities on the outskirts of Sweden’s largest cities. The formation of such communi­ties, seen as vulnerable by the national authorities and marked by a high crime rate, impedes the integration of Syrian and Iraqi immigrants into Swedish society.


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