Nordic Social Attitudes in a European Perspective

Nordic Social Attitudes in a European Perspective

Edited by Heikki Ervasti, Torben Fridberg, Mikael Hjerm and Kristen Ringdal

Providing highly rigorous and up-to-date data, with a wide coverage of topics, this book will be of great interest to academics and students in sociology, social policy and political science. It will also appeal to anyone interested in the Nordic countries in general.

Chapter 10: Attitudes Towards Immigrants

Heikki Ervasti, Torben Fridberg and Mikael Hjerm

Subjects: social policy and sociology, comparative social policy


Heikki Ervasti, Torben Fridberg and Mikael Hjerm INTRODUCTION As shown in other chapters of this book, the Nordic countries have much in common in terms of social structure, institutions and their historical development. However, experiences in the field of modern immigration differ in these countries. In the 1950s and 1960s Finland was still a country of emigration, whereas Sweden was already receiving labour migrants. Denmark and Norway followed Sweden in the 1960s and 1970s, as did Finland in the 1970s and 1980s. During the last decades, all the Nordic countries have experienced a significant increase in the number of foreignborn population, and the exceptional ethnic homogeneity of the Nordic populations has gradually started to acquire more diversity. Currently, most appraisals of future trends in immigration suggest that the figures will increase. There is no lack of awareness of the extra European immigration needed to meet the demands of the labour market as European populations are in a process of ageing. Nevertheless, countries seem to have difficulties in integrating the immigrants who already reside in their territorial space. This is at least the case if integration is measured in such terms as participation rates in the labour market, levels of income and educational attainment, occupational status or voting behaviour, for instance. Moreover, several prior studies indicate that attitudes towards newcomers are not always friendly among the majority populations. All over Europe the integration of immigrants is disturbed by the negative attitudes of notable parts of the population, or...

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