Novel ion-stimulus-responsive copolymeric hydrogels were synthesized by free radical crosslinking copolymerization from the monomers N,N-dimethylaminoethyl methacrylate (DMAEMA) and 2-Hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA) in the presence of a crosslinker, diethyleneglycol dimethacrylate (DEGDMA). The influences of the reaction parameters, the comonomer composition and the ionic strength of salt solutions on the swelling behavior of P(DMAEMA-co-HEMA) hydrogels were examined. The ion-stimulus-responsive swelling behavior of the prepared copolymers was studied in water as well as in aqueous solutions of NaCl, KCl, KBr, KI, CaCl2, BaCl2 and MgCl2. It was found that, starting from some characteristic concentration of a salt, a further increase of the salt concentration results in the shrinking of copolymeric P(DMAEMA-co-HEMA) hydrogels. The Flory-Rehner theory correctly predicts the swelling behavior of the hydrogels in salt solutions if the variation of the comonomer HEMA content is taken into account. The calculation of the interaction parameter chi between P(DMAEMA-co-HEMA) network and water showed that the specific interactions between cations and side groups of polymeric network affect the mixing term of the free energy. The extent and kinetics of water absorption were studied to determine their relationship with the reaction parameters. The kinetics of the hydrogel collapse is strongly dependent on the kind of salt used. The swelling results will be useful in designing and developing novel controlled delivery systems.