Homelessness in Sweden

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A homeless person's bed in Göteborg, Sweden, 2013.

Homelessness in Sweden affects some 34,000 people.[1][2]

The Swedish government's response to homelessness has included commissioning national surveys on homelessness during the last decade that allow for direct comparison between Sweden, Denmark and Norway.[3] The three countries have very similar definitions of homelessness, with minor variations.[4]

Some researchers maintain that measures to counteract homelessness in Sweden are largely dependent on a general premise equating homelessness with addiction, mental illness and deviance.[5] On the other hand, youth homelessness is considered a child protection problem.[6]

Street newspapers[edit]

Street newspaper vendor in Stockholm

There are several street newspapers in Sweden. Situation Sthlm,[7] was founded in 1995 and was Sweden's only street newspaper until Faktum and Aluma were founded early in the 2000s.[8]

In 2006 the three street newspapers were awarded the grand prize of Publicistklubben (Swedish Publicists' Association).[7][9]

In 2013, a Swedish tech company created software for the homeless newspaper vendors to accept credit card payments via a mobile app.[10]

In art[edit]

In 2015, a Swedish art exhibition at Malmö Konsthall titled “The Alien Within: A Living Laboratory of Western Society” included two homeless people from Romania. The homeless people were not accepting money from visitors but were paid at hourly rate by the event organizers.[11]


Researchers have found that excess mortality among homeless men and women in Stockholm is entirely related to alcohol and drug abuse.[12]

Some researchers have conducted studies on the oral health of homeless people in Sweden and found that they have fewer remaining teeth than the general population.[13]


  1. ^ "A portrait of modern Sweden in ten statistics". 15 January 2015.
  2. ^ Vichea, Pang (2 September 2016). "Rebooting lives at the Homeless World Cup".
  3. ^ Busch-Geertsema, Volker. "Defining and measuring homelessness." Homelessness Research in Europe: Festschrift for Bill Edgar and Joe Doherty (2010): 19-39.
  4. ^ Benjaminsen, Lars, and Evelyn Dyb. "The Effectiveness of Homeless Policies–Variations among the Scandinavian Countries." European Journal of Homelessness 2 (2008).
  5. ^ Löfstrand, Cecilia Hansen. "Reforming the work to combat long-term homelessness in Sweden." Acta Sociologica 53, no. 1 (2010): 19-34.
  6. ^ Healy, Karen, Tommy Lundström, and Marie Sallnäs. "A comparison of out-of-home care for children and young people in Australia and Sweden: Worlds apart?." Australian Social Work 64, no. 4 (2011): 416-431.
  7. ^ a b Holender, Robert (2006-05-22). "De hemlösas tidningar prisades". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved 2009-02-11.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Boukhari, Sophie (1999). "The press takes to the street" (PDF). The UNESCO Courier. UNESCO.
  9. ^ "Röster åt utsatta fick publicistpris". Ekot (in Swedish). Sveriges Radio. 2006-05-22. Archived from the original on 2006-06-14. Retrieved 2009-02-11.
  10. ^ Gibbs, Samuel (18 October 2013). "Stockholm's homeless now accept payments - by debit card" – via The Guardian.
  11. ^ "Are Homeless People Exploited in Swedish Art Installation? - artnet News". 2 February 2015.
  12. ^ Beijer, Ulla, Sven Andreasson, Gunnar Ågren, and Anna Fugelstad. "Mortality and causes of death among homeless women and men in Stockholm." Scandinavian journal of public health 39, no. 2 (2011): 121-127.
  13. ^ De Palma, Patricia, Lars Frithiof, Lena Persson, Björn Klinge, Jan Halldin, and Ulla Beijer. "Oral health of homeless adults in Stockholm, Sweden." Acta Odontologica Scandinavica 63, no. 1 (2005): 50-55.