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work & society

Half the Poverty, But Wealth Gap Grows

Published måndag 29 mars 2010 kl 17.49

Although fewer Swedes are living under the poverty line now than ten years ago, the income gap is widening, a new report by the National Board of Health and Welfare holds.

News agency TT reports that the percentage of the population living under the poverty line declined by more than half between 1997 and 2007, bringing the figure to five percent from the previous eleven.

Immigrants make up a disproportionate amount of the poor, however.

"Poverty has become more concentrated to the foreign-born. It can be because the number of new arrivals has increased for example, and that it's difficult to enter the job market," Danuta Biterman, the report's project leader, told TT.

More than 60 percent of those receiving welfare support were born outside of Sweden, and only half of people who arrived at age 22-30 gained employment after 15 years in the country.

When reached by TT, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt commented that the figures prove that integrating immigrants into the job market is one of Sweden's biggest challenges, and that his government has taken steps to speed up the process.

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