Origins of immigrants

28.02.22 | Statistics
Immigrants come to the Nordic Countries from all over the world. Many from other European countries thanks to the free movement of the European Union. Others come from further away, seeking employment, education or safety for themselves and their families. The charts on this page aim to show where immigrants in the Nordic countries come from and why they have chosen to move here.​

Definition: unless otherwise noted, an immigrant is defined as a person who is foreign-born and whose parents are both foreign-born as well. Descendants are defined as persone who are native-born both of whose parents are foreign-born.

Region of origin

By far the greatest share of immigrants in the Nordic countries come from within Europe. Particularly in Iceland, there is a large share of European immigrants, many of whom have arrived there in search of employment. In Sweden, a larger share is from the Middle East and North Africa. 


Country of origin

The largest immigrant groups in the Nordic countries are from Syria and Poland. However, this varies significantly between countries. For instance, Polish immigrants make up 38% of immigrants in Iceland, but only 1% in Finland.​

Click the column headers to sort the table.


Gender and region of origin

Immigrants from Europe and North America are more likely to be male than female. The same goes for immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa, while immigrants from Asia and Latin America are more likely to be female, as are people migrating between the Nordic countries.


Gender distribution by country

Men and women are in general equally represented in the immigrant statistics, however immigrants from certain countries tend to be less evenly distributed. ​Possibly as a result of au pair programmes and family reunification, immigrants from some countries, like Thailand and Philippines, are overwhelmingly female. ​On the other hand, immigrants from Ireland and the UK – and also many African and Middle Eastern ones - are predominantly male. 

Contact information