Data on Danish immigrants, 2011 (1?)

The central Danish statistical office, Statistics Denmark, has just published a report with a lot of data on Danish immigrants, Immigrants in Denmark, 2011. I thought some of the non-Danes reading along might appreciate a post in English on this subject.

At the site, they’ve given no indications that they’re planning to translate this, so I don’t think an English version of this material is coming up anytime soon. My translation of the stuff is better than what you’d get from google translate, but do remember that I’m not exactly a professional translator. I’ve decided to page-source every bit of data for this reason, so that it’s easier to go have a look for yourself if you’re in doubt. It was most convenient for me to page-source the pdf version pages, not the official page numbers at the top of each page in the report. Don’t think of the statements below as direct quotations from the report – I’ve frequently had to reformulate the expressions used in the report. If something’s unclear, please ask away. Anyway, let’s start:

*10,1 % of the Danish population are immigrants or descendants of immigrants. (p.13)
*Immigrants make up 7,7% and descendants make up 2,4%. (p.13) [A small note here: The report only explicitly mentions the 10,1% and the 7,7%, not the 2,4% – but I think it’s safe to assume that this is a simple subtraction problem and that it makes good sense to post that number as well just for completeness.]
*60,2% of all immigrants are from non-Western countries. (p.13)
*66% of all immigrants and descendants are from non-Western countries. (p.25)
*The number of non-Western immigrants has almost sextupled since 1980. (p.14)
*From 1980 to 2011, the number of non-Western descendants has increased from 7.653 to 115.597. (p.15)
*The number of descendants of Western immigrants grew by 70% from 1980 to 2011. (p.15)

*The immigrants living in Denmark come from more than 200 countries. (p.15)
*The distribution is not uniform. Immigrants from the top 12 countries (in terms of the number of immigrants living in Denmark) make up 50% of all immigrants. (p.15)
*Turkey is at the top of the list with 32 479 immigrants living in Denmark. (p.15)
*5 out of the top 12 countries are Western countries (Germany, Poland, Norway, Sweden, GB). 7 are Non-western countries (Turkey, Iraq, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran, Lebanon, Pakistan, ex-Jugoslavia). (p.16)
*There’s significant variation in the age distribution of immigrants from different countries. When looking at the top twelve, 20% of the Western immigrants in that group are 60 years old or older, whereas only 10% of the non-Western immigrants in the top-twelve are 60 years old or older. (p.16)
*As to the Poles, they’re an interesting case because they’re quite different from the rest of the Western immigrants. They’re the third largest immigrant population (26 580) in Denmark – the number of Polish born people living in Denmark is higher than the number of immigrants from Sweden and Great Britain combined – and more than half of the Poles (53%) are between 20 and 40. 68% of the Polish immigrants are between 20 and 49 years old. 10 % of them are 60 years or older. (p.16)

*When looking at the descendant populations living in Denmark, 11 out of the top 12 countries are non-Western countries. More than one in five (21%) of all descendants living in Denmark are descendants of Turkish immigrants. Lebanon and Pakistan are next on the list, with 9% and 7% respectively. (p.17)
*Most descendants are quite young. 41% of them are below the age of 10, and only 10% have reached the age of 30.

[I used to comment on this fact back when I did political discussions, because it is often overlooked or simply ignored in discussions about what might be termed the demographic potential of descendant populations. We have no idea how many children descendants will end up having, and it makes no sense to try to draw strong conclusions out of sample from the data sets that are available now. Please have this in mind when we get to the forecasts later on. Putting the above numbers in context, the average age of women having their first child in Denmark was 29,1 years in 2010 (Statistikbanken, FOD11). I also urge people to remember here that the growth rate of population segment X in a population doesn’t just depend on the total fertility rate differential, but also on age of birth differentials. If women from population segment X get children at the age of 30 and women from population segment Y get children at the age of 20, population segment Y will grow faster than population segment X, even if every single woman in the two population segments have the same amount of children. This remark is relevant because non-Western immigrants as a rule get children at a lower age than ethnic Danes. Females of Danish origin get on average 0,21 children during the period of their lives where they are 20-24 years old. For all non-Western female immigrants, the corresponding average number is 0,35. For Lebanese women, the number is 0,72. (pp. 27-28)]

*Western descendants are much older than non-Western descendants, on average. [worsening the data problems mentioned above. Especially if you mix up the Westerns and non-Westerns – does it make sense to extrapolate birth rates of Turkish descendants in 2015 from the historical birth rates of descendants of Norwegian women?] One third of the descendants of Western immigrants are above the age of 30, whereas only 6% of the descendants of non-Western immigrants are that old. (p.18)
*Descendants from Turkey, Pakistan, Jugoslavia or Morocco make up 77% of all 30+ year old descendants from non-Western countries. (p.18)
*The total fertility rate of Somali immigrants in Denmark is 3,937. (p.26)
*In the period 2006-2010, there were an average of 64.056 living births pr. year. In the same period, there were an average of 5.860 (9,1%) children born every year of non-Western immigrants and an average of 2.310 (3,6%) children every year born of Western immigrants. The average annual number of children of descendants over the time period was just 961. (p.26)

*The report has some stats on family patterns and the degree of observed endogamy. When it comes to male immigrants from Western countries who are classified as being in a relationship, in 59% of the cases the partner is of Danish origin and in 37% of the cases the partner is an immigrant from a Western country. When it comes to the female immigrants from a Western country, 63% of the partners are of Danish origin and in one-third of the cases it’s a Western immigrant. The pattern is different when it comes to immigrants from non-Western countries. For male immigrants from non-Western countries, 13% have partners of Danish origin and 80% have partners from a non-Western country. For female immigrants from non-Western countries, 28% have partners of Danish origin and 68% have partners of non-Western origin. Interestingly, when it comes to descendants Western immigrants are more likely to have a partner of Danish origin than are first generation immigrants (83% and 85% for males and females respectively), whereas this pattern is actually reversed for females from non-Western countries, where descendants are less likely to have a Danish partner than are first generation immigrants (19% of females who are descendants of immigrants from non-Western countries with a partner have a partner of Danish origin, whereas the corresponding number for the first generation non-Western female immigrants is 28%.) 3 out of 5 non-Western descendants who are in a relationship are in a relationship with a non-Western immigrant and 18% of them have a partner who’s also a descendant of immigrants from a non-Western country. (all numbers above from Tabel 1.9, p.32)
*When it comes to the non-Western females who find Danish male partners, few of these women come from the major immigrant countries. Of the 19.981 female non-Western immigrants with a partner of Danish origin, females from Thailand, Philippines, Russia, China, Brazil and Ukraine make up 11.644 of them – 58%. (p.33)
*Females from Thailand and Philippines alone make up 39% of the non-Western females who have partners of Danish origin. (p.34)
*When it comes to females from Turkey, Pakistan and Iraq, only 2% of them have a partner of Danish origin. (p.34)
*97% of female Turkish immigrants with a partner have a partner of Turkish origin. 94% of Pakistani females in a relationship have a partner of Pakistani origin. (p.35)
*88% of Turkish descendants in a relationship have a partner of Turkish origin. (p.37)

*Today the country from which Denmark receives the largest number of immigrants is Poland. Denmark received 3850 Polish immigrants in 2010. (p.38)
*(not direct citation but paraphrasing…)’Immigrants from Western countries like USA, Spain and Italy rarely come to Denmark to live here permanently and a large share of them leave Denmark again.’ – ‘This is not the case for non-Western immigrants.’ (p.40) Some data: 77% of the Poles who came to Denmark in 2002 had left the country by January 1st, 2011. 88% of the immigrants from the US who came in 2002 had left Denmark by 2011. On the other hand, only 9 percent of Iraqis who came in 2002 had left by 2011. 24% of the Turks who arrived in 2002 had left by 2011. (all numbers from table, p.39) [the 9% number is interesting also because during that time period, Denmark actually had various policies (Danish links) in place where Iraqis who decided to leave Denmark could get a one-time cash prize for doing so.]

This post dealt with roughly the first 40 pages of the report. The report has 153 pages. So there’s a lot of stuff to cover – there’s also data on education, crime, employment, ect. I might write another post or two on this subject if people liked this one.

Major related hint: If you’d like me to write another post on this, tell me, either by using the rating system or by commenting. If I don’t get positive feedback, I probably won’t do any more work on this – it adds a not insignificant time component to not being able to just quote directly from the report because the stuff needs to be translated as well.


December 18, 2011 - Posted by | Data, Demographics, denmark, immigration


  1. > *10,1 % of the Danish population are immigrants or descendants of immigrants. (p.13)

    Wonder how that is calculated – how many generations before one is not a descendant?

    The marriage info is interesting. Need to wrap my head around it.

    Comment by gwern | December 18, 2011 | Reply

    • The people at Statistics Denmark describe how they use the various terms here. Both of the authors of that page are co-authors of the report. Of course the link doesn’t really help you, but I’ve translated the main stuff below. They do it like this:

      Immigrants = People who were not born in Denmark. Neither of the parents were both Danish citizens and born in Denmark. If no information exists about the parents and the person is born abroad, the person is also considered an immigrant. (“Indvandrere er født i udlandet. Ingen af forældrene er både danske statsborgere og født i Danmark. Hvis der ikke findes oplysninger om nogen af forældrene, og personen er født i udlandet, opfattes personen også som indvandrer.”)

      Descendants = These are people who are born in Denmark. Neither of the parents are both Danish citizens and born in Denmark.

      (“Efterkommere er født i Danmark. Ingen af forældrene er både danske statsborgere og født i Danmark. Hvis der ikke findes oplysninger om nogen af forældrene, og personen er udenlandsk statsborger, opfattes personen også som efterkommer. Når en eller begge forældre, der er født i Danmark, opnår dansk statsborgerskab, vil deres børn ikke blive klassificeret som efterkommere. Fastholder danskfødte forældre imidlertid begge et udenlandsk statsborgerskab, vil deres børn blive klassificeret som efterkommere.”)

      ‘Of danish origin’ = People who, no matter where they are born, have at least one parent who is both a Danish citizen and born in Denmark. (Personer med dansk oprindelse er personer – uanset fødested – der har mindst én forælder, der både er dansk statsborger og født i Danmark.)

      So, the moment someone is born in Denmark and has obtained Danish citizenship it just stops there. If a Turkish male immigrant marries ‘a Danish girl’, their children will not be considered descendants. There’s no ‘hispanic-white’ type classification going on here like in the USA – if you’re born here and you have Danish citizenship, your children will be categorized as being of Danish origin. Another example: Say a child is born in Denmark and he has two Turkish immigrants as parents (he’s considered a descendant). He has Danish citizenship and he decides to marry a Turkish girl born in Antalya. The children of those two will not be considered descendants – they will be considered ‘of Danish origin’. If two Turkish descendants – at least one of which has Danish citizenship – marry, their children will likewise be considered ‘of Danish origin’. I probably shouldn’t need to say this, but given the degree of endogamy in the major muslim subpopulations and given how widespread such marriage patterns are, numbers like these will become increasingly useless over time when it comes to figuring out what’s actually going on.

      Comment by US | December 18, 2011 | Reply

  2. Spændende læsning, når nu jeg ikke selv har været forbi Danmarks Statistik.
    Jeg forstår dog ikke nedenstående;

    “From 2006-2010, there were 64.056 living births. 5.860 (9,1%) were children of non-Western immigrants and 2.310 (3,6%) were children of Western immigrants. The number of children of descendants was 961. (p.26)”

    Muligvis er jeg for træt. Men er 64056 ikke sådan ca. det der fødes på et år ?

    Comment by Superman | December 18, 2011 | Reply

    • Godt fanget!

      Jeg har rettet posten nu. Det er naturligvis et gennemsnit af de årlige fødsler i perioden, der er tale om, ikke et samlet tal.

      Comment by US | December 18, 2011 | Reply

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