People in Rinkeby.Photo:Svt

The suburbs that Sweden forgot

1:41 min

Twice as many unemployed than in the rest of Sweden, low electoral turnout and many who do not get the grades to go to high school. Just some of the examples that describe the situation of Sweden's most vulnerable neighbourhoods, according to a study, "The suburbs that Mother Sweden Forgot."

It's a gloomy picture of segregation that investigator Jan Edling describes in his study of integration in Sweden. Speaking to SVT News, he says that people living in these areas have been let down the past two decades. 

"These suburbs are in horrible trouble and you cannot say that Sweden is an integrated country. We have used these suburbs as a repository for those that cannot fit into normal society" says Edling, a former investigator for the trade union organisation LO and Vinnova.

He examined 38 deprived neighbourhoods ranging from cities in Luleå in the north, to Malmö in the south. He says that Sweden's integration policy of the past 20 years has failed. He describes "an us and them" society.

Social exclusion has led to the residents in the affected areas having lower disposable incomes. The disposable income of the country as a whole was 249,200 kronor in 2013, compared to SEK 173 550 in the identified areas.

In the mainly immigrant Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby, close to 40 percent of the working population is jobless or outside education. Almost a third of those leaving secondary school do not have the required grades to go onto high school.

Those who do find work are reportedly employed in occupations with low pay and low social status. Women work largely as nurses or cleaners, while many men are working as kitchen and restaurant assistants, cleaners or personal assistants.

Abbas Owoade came to Sweden from Nigeria ten years ago, and settled in Rinkeby. As a painter, he tells Radio Sweden that he has gone into lots of different schools in Stockholm, and the difference in education on offer between the schools in Rinkeby and Tensta in comparison to others, is stark.

"I'm a parent of 9 year old twins at Rinkeby school and I'm not happy with the school. I have tried to find another school outside the area but they say it's too far, there is a long queue etc. The Rinkeby school is not good because as my former job as a painter, I have been in 40 schools, everywhere, so I can compare. I can see the diffrerence in quality, the teachers, education, the discipline. In Rinkeby, in Tensta, the school or the teachers do not seem to care. It is like they have given up."

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