From (David P.)@21:1/5 to All on Tue Jan 4 11:43:50 2022
Subsidies for large families in Sweden impair integration of immigrants
Jan 4, 2022, The Overpopulation Project
The family supplement, which gives extra financial aid for each
additional child, was implemented in Sweden in 1982 at a time of
falling birth rates. It now contributes to lock-in effects for
immigrant women. Abolishing this supplement and limiting the
child allowance to the first two kids would help reduce social
exclusion and public spending, at the same time benefitting the
environment, as argued in this Op-Ed translated from the Swedish
daily newspaper Aftonbladet.
By Andersson, Andersson, Deinum, & Gotmark
The new Swedish PM Magdalena Andersson wants to “leave no stone
unturned” when it comes to reducing Sweden’s increasing social
exclusion, a necessary effort if Sweden is to survive as a
welfare state in the long run.
Proposals with this purpose in recent years have included more
community youth recreation centres, more money for schools in socioeconomically vulnerable areas, increased police presence,
and so on. These proposals all increase public spending, and
Magdalena Andersson, as former Minister of Finance, declared that
the rich in Sweden can contribute more. But the opportunities to
raise taxes are limited since the tax burden in the country is
Our proposal, which in the long run is expected to reduce
social exclusion and public expenditure as well as to benefit
the environment, is to abolish subsidies for larger families
and provide a max of two child allowances per family, so as
not to encourage having a large number of kids.
A large proportion (approx 25%) of Sweden’s current population
has in recent decades immigrated to Sweden, or are children
of immigrants. Many come from countries with unsustainable,
explosive population growth, including Afghanistan, Somalia, &
Syria, where the populations have doubled approx every 25 years.
If these families retain a tradition of large cohorts of kids,
the risk of social exclusion increases, partly because women’s
opportunity to enter gainful employment decreases. Furthermore,
it's difficult for society to provide social services and good
schools in areas with large groups of kids and many inhabitants
who do not speak Swedish. There's also a strong connection
between large numbers of kids per family and areas with gang
criminality, something that Lasse Wierup addressed in his book “Gangsterparadiset.”
Upon their first contact with Swedish society, with tax-free
child allowances and progressively larger family supplements
(see Appendix below), some migrants conclude that in Sweden
it's beneficial to have as many kids as possible. The extra
supplement to families with two or more kids was introduced in
1982 in a completely different context, falling birth rates, but
now leads to lock-in effects for a large number of immigrant women.
A common view has been that rapid population growth decreases
due to increased prosperity, but the connection is probably the
opposite: reduced family size leading to increased prosperity
through a so-called “demographic dividend.” The increase in
wealth that one generation creates can then be passed on to
the next generation.
Sweden has made this journey, from a poor country with large
family sizes in the early 20th c., to today’s welfare country
with small cohorts of kids and, until recently, very good
schooling. Let it not become a lost paradise with widening
socioeconomic gaps and all the problems that social exclusion
causes. We therefore propose a community contract, where each
family with kids receives up to two child allowances, while we
(the community) “leave no stone unturned” to offer safe
upbringing and good, free school education.
Each family can decide for itself whether it wants to have
more than two kids but without additional monetary contributions
from society. With two kids per family on average, we can obtain
a relatively stable population size, which benefits welfare.
Zero population growth, or even better population reduction,
is also required to counteract the loss of habitats for animals
and plants, and to halt global warming. The relatively rapid
population growth in Sweden in recent decades, compared to many
other EU countries, drives intensive construction of buildings
and infrastructure around the country, which eats up not only
green areas in and near cities, but also agricultural land.
There's no reason to reward population growth, neither in
Sweden nor elsewhere in the world.
Leif Andersson, professor of biology, Uppsala
Malte Andersson, professor emeritus of ecology, Gothenburg
Johanna Deinum, asst prof in biophysical chemistry, Gothenburg
Frank Gotmark, professor of ecology, Gothenburg