Hunger in Sweden
Sweden is a predominantly urban Scandinavian country with a population of more than 10 million people. Its economy blends ideas of free-market capitalism with extensive welfare components. From 2016 to 2017, Sweden’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased while its unemployment level decreased. As a result, the nation has achieved a high standard of living and high life expectancy in comparison to many other nations. Here are four facts about hunger in Sweden and how the government is addressing it.

4 Facts About Hunger in Sweden

  1. Sweden reports very low rates of poverty and few issues with malnutrition. Malnutrition can occur from lack of food accessibility and hunger. According to Smart City Sweden, malnutrition is a limited issue in the nation and rarely impacts children’s growth. However, the organization has revealed there are inequalities in those who experience hunger depending on the resident’s social and economic positions. Hunger is more likely to impact people living in poverty.  Depending on the definition, there are varying rates of poverty in Sweden. Currently, absolute poverty is nonexistent in Sweden. Yet, when focusing on relative poverty, 15% of the Swedish population is impoverished in comparison with the national median income. These low poverty rates also correlate with low rates of hunger in Sweden.
  2. The Swedish welfare system and charity organizations help the hungry. The Swedish government provides its impoverished inhabitants with essential needs through its sizable welfare programs. For example, everyone in the nation has access to universal social insurance, making them less economically vulnerable and keeping hunger in Sweden low. In 2018, Sweden spent 26.1% of its GDP on social spending. This money goes towards helping low-income households sustain their basic needs. Additionally, Sweden has organizations, such as Sweden’s City Missions, that aid those in need by supplying sleeping accommodations, clothing and food. According to its report, 62% of the organization’s poverty interventions deal with feeding the hungry; therefore, Sweden’s City Missions is helping eradicate hunger in Sweden.
  3. Sweden is working on hunger initiatives with the United Nations. In 2018, the Swedish government and the United Nations World Food Programme partnered to combat global hunger through the signing of a Strategic Partner Agreement. The government made the most substantial contributions the organization has ever seen at $370 million. These funds go towards food assistance to help food crisis victims. Also, the Swedish government has partnered with the United Nations on global goals, one of which focuses on hunger. The objective is zero hunger and it aims to internationally end hunger, improve food security and advance nutrition.
  4. There are numerous Swedish networks that have committed themselves to fighting world hunger. Many Swedish organizations are focusing on globally eradicating hunger as the issue of hunger becomes less prevalent in Sweden. The Swedish International Agriculture Network Initiative involves government officials, citizens and the private sector in the conversation on hunger. Its mission statement expresses the goal of encouraging discussion around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal: zero hunger. To reach this goal, the initiative creates expert groups that educate people on hunger through articles and connects people who aim to take action in fighting hunger. On a larger scale, Smart City Sweden, the state-funded organization, works to end hunger by focusing on sustainability. For instance, Smart City Sweden has successfully worked towards this goal through intervening in global agriculture. The organization has donated a large amount of money towards making agriculture more effective, moving the world closer towards ensuring food security.

Although hunger in Sweden is low in comparison to other nations, the nation puts a substantial amount of money into fighting it. It has become an international leader for combating hunger through partnerships, organizations and networks.

– Erica Burns
Photo: Flickr