Heading for a ‘Better Life’? Why Swedes Move to Portugal



This article discusses the drivers behind why Swedes move to Portugal and who these migrants are. The conceptual framework is based on lifestyle migration and considers migration as a process. Using a semi-structured interview guide, designed according to a life-course approach, 36 in-depth interviews with Swedes permanently residing in Portugal were conducted. The findings display that only a small minority of the respondents claimed that the climate, the sense of privilege/affluence and the prospects of being a permanent tourist made them move to Portugal. A majority of the respondents expressed a disenchantment with Sweden, political correctness, and a perceived collapse of the Swedish welfare system. Simultaneously, the respondents describe an escape from everyday problems. Notably, it is not the Swedish middle-class that seems to be moving, and emigrants come from mainly the top or bottom of the social hierarchy.


Migration driversDisenchantmentLifestyle migrationMigration process‘Elsewhereness’
  • Year: 2021
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 3
  • Page/Article: 341–360
  • DOI: 10.33134/njmr.441
  • Submitted on 13 Jun 2019
  • Accepted on 17 Feb 2021
  • Published on 3 Sep 2021
  • Peer Reviewed