The Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) had 1 January 2019 about 3,6 million immigrants and 1 million descendants, all together 4,6 million persons with immigrant background. The total population of Norden was 27,2 million, immigrants were 13,3 per cent of the population, descendants 3,7 per cent. Sweden had 51 per cent of the immigrants in Norden, and 38 per cent of the total population.
Considering single countries, there are more immigrants from Syria (260 000) than from any other country, slightly more than from Poland. Syria is the largest immigration country for Sweden, and important also for Denmark and Norway. Poland is the largest immigration country for Denmark, Iceland and Norway, and important also for Sweden. Estonia is largest in Finland.
The largest number of immigrants goes to Sweden. Relative to the population size, Iceland has had more immigrants than the rest every year since 1990, in 2007 and 2017 the number of immigrants was 4 per cent of the population. Every Nordic country have had net immigration almost every year since 1990, most of the years with Sweden on the top. Total net immigration to Norden 1990-2018 was almost 2,9 million, two thirds of the total population growth in Norden in the period.
Participation in education and work is our operationalisation of integration. The connection between participation in education and integration is more clearly among descendants than among immigrants. In the four major Nordic countries, 30-40 per cent of immigrants aged 16-29 years were in education. In Iceland with dominating labor migration, only 20 per cent.
Generally, immigrants from Thailand and Somalia has large proportions in secondary school. Immigrants from Turkey, India and China have relatively moderate participation on that level. Both India and China have high proportions in higher education. Immigrants from Thailand and Somalia have, together with Syria, low participation in higher education.
The overall employment rate is somewhat higher in Sweden than in Norway and Denmark, and much higher than in Finland. Immigrants in general have much lower employment rate than the rest of the population, from 13 percentage points in Norway to 22 percentage points in Sweden. The lowest employment rates for immigrants from most countries and regions has Finland, followed by Denmark. Norway has higher employment rates than Sweden for immigrants from labor migrant countries, whereas Sweden has significantly higher employment rates for those coming from refugee countries.
Descendants have generally the highest employments rates in Sweden, and the lowest in Finland. In spite that many descendants are so young that they still are in education, they have higher employment than immigrants in many groups. Country background means less for employment of descendants than for immigrants.
In Sweden and Finland, the employment increases with duration of stay. In Denmark and Norway, the employment reaches its maximum after 8-15 years of stay.