Share of students with foreign backgrounds continues to increase

During the 2014/15 academic year, 20 per cent of university entrants (not counting students coming into the country) had foreign background. One year earlier the corresponding proportion was 19 per cent and ten years earlier the proportion was 16 per cent, according to a new report from Statistics Sweden (SCB).

‘Foreign background’ refers to individuals who were born outside Sweden and individuals who were born in Sweden but whose parents were both born outside Sweden.

20 per cent of the university entrants had foreign backgrounds

During the 2014/15 academic year, 20 per cent of university entrants (not counting students coming into the country) had foreign backgrounds. One year earlier the corresponding proportion was 19 per cent and ten years earlier the proportion was 16 per cent. Foreign background refers to individuals who were born outside of Sweden and individuals who were born in Sweden but whose parents were both born outside Sweden.

During the 2014/15 academic year there were 13,100 university entrants with foreign backgrounds. Of these 13,100, some 5,600 were born in Sweden with two foreign born parents while 7,500 were foreign born. Of the 7,500 foreign born persons, 1,200 had immigrated to Sweden at age six or earlier, and 6,300 had immigrated at age seven or later.

When looking at the distribution between men and women, there were no major differences between university entrants with a Swedish and a foreign background. In both the groups, 58-59 per cent of the university entrants were women and 41-42 per cent were men.

However, there were differences within the group with foreign backgrounds. Among foreign born persons who emigrated at age 6 or earlier, 56 per cent were women and 44 per cent were men. This was the same distribution as the group born in Sweden with two foreign born parents. Among the foreign born persons who immigrated at age 7 or later, the share of women was 63 per cent and the share of men was 37 per cent.

Considerable variation among the different study orientations

Among the vocational programmes, prescriptionist training had the highest share of university entrants with a foreign background at 77 per cent in the 2014/15 academic year. Pharmacist training had the next highest share at 67 per cent.

Most of the university entrants with foreign backgrounds in the 2014/15 academic year were enrolled in training for Bachelor of science in engineering, followed by Master of science in engineering with 820 and 780 university entrants respectively.

Nearly half of all university entrants at Karolinska institutet have foreign backgrounds

Karolinska institutet had the highest share of university entrants with foreign backgrounds in the 2014/15 academic year at 46 per cent. Södertörn University follows at 36 per cent and Ersta Sköndal University College at 34 per cent. The Swedish Defence University had a considerably lower share of university entrants with foreign background at 5 per cent.

Stockholm University had by far the largest number with foreign background at 2,000 university entrants. Gothenburg University follows with 1,100.

Increasing share of 25 year olds with foreign background

Of those born in 1989, 44 per cent had begun higher education by age 25. This proportion has been relatively stable for 25-year-olds with Swedish background during the last ten years.

During the same period, the corresponding share of 25 year olds born in Sweden with two foreign born parents has gradually increased and finally passed the share of those with Swedish background. Of those born in 1989 the share of these persons was 46 per cent, compared to 35 per cent ten years earlier.

A similar increase has occurred among foreign born 25-year-olds who immigrated at age six or earlier, from 38 per cent to 47 per cent in ten years. Among foreign born persons who immigrated at age seven or later, the share that has begun higher education has however remained rather unchanged. The share was 34 per cent among those born in 1980 and 33 per cent among those born in 1989.

Many with backgrounds from Bosnia-Herzegovina choose higher education

Among those with a background from Bosnia-Herzegovina born in 1989, 57 per cent had begun higher education by age 25. The next highest share that began higher education studies by age 25 was among foreign born persons with a background from Russia at 56 per cent, followed by Iran at 50 per cent. Also persons born in Sweden with two foreign born parents and backgrounds from Iran often choose higher education studies. Of those born in 1989 in this group, 67 per cent had begun higher education studies by age 25.

One in four new doctoral students have foreign background

During the 2014/15 academic year, 25 per cent of new doctoral students had foreign background (not including visiting postgraduate students). The number of new doctoral students with foreign backgrounds was 460. Of these students, 390 were foreign born and 70 were born in Sweden with two foreign born parents.

The distribution of women and men within the different groups varied. Among new doctoral students with Swedish background, the breakdown of the sexes was even. In the other groups, the share of women was higher than that of men; the largest difference was among new doctoral students born in Sweden with two foreign born parents where the share of women was 57 per cent and the share of men was 43 per cent.

Most of the new doctoral students with foreign background had backgrounds from Europe and Asia.

Medicine and health sciences most common subject areas for new doctoral students with foreign background

The largest number of new doctoral students with foreign background was in medicine and health sciences, roughly 200. The share of new doctoral students with foreign background in medicine and health sciences was 27 per cent.