Swedish housing market discriminates against Arab-named individuals
Discrimination in Sweden against Muslims and Arabs is rampant, as the group is the most discriminated against, as per name-based research.
Swedish landlords are less likely to call back clients who have foreign-sounding names, while individuals who have Arabic names suffer particular discrimination, a study found.
Researchers, seeking to unveil any existing discrimination within the housing market, sent out fake applications to more than 620 housing advertisements using stereotypical male names in a bid to seem part of certain ethnicities.
The researchers explained that they also sought to find out how several factors, such as a troubled housing market and an increase in immigration over the past couple of decades, affected an immigrant's ability to rent an apartment in Sweden.
This comes in light of previous research that suggested there was discrimination toward people who had Arab or West Asian names when it came to housing, as Swedes had a much higher chance of getting accepted.
The latest research, conducted by the University of Gothenburg, found that in a group that included names from different ethnicities, including eastern European and Asian names, alongside names that signal that a person is Swedish, West Asian names suffered the most discrimination.
"This result is despite the fact that all applicants were equally well behaved, highly educated persons with good jobs and a steady income, i.e., it is the name that matters," Dr. Elina Lampi, one of the study's authors, told The National.
The names used by the researchers included Johan Andersson for the Swedish background, Ali Hassan for an Arab-Muslim background, Milan Mladenovic for an Eastern European background, and Yong Wang for an East Asian background.
The call-back rates from landlords were 39% for Johan, 31% for Milan and Yong, and 23% for Ali.
"Although we expected a certain amount of discrimination, we did not expect that discrimination towards the Arabic/Muslim-sounding name would be that much greater than discrimination towards people with Eastern European and East Asian-sounding names," Dr. Lambi added.
The largest immigrant groups in Sweden, excluding those from Nordic states, are Asian immigrants with 35% of the population, EU immigrants with 32%, and Afghan, Iranian, Iraqi, and Syrian immigrants with 23%. Meanwhile, around 9% of Sweden's population comes from Eastern European immigrants from states outside of the European Union.