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Migration and integration in Denmark - statistics & facts

There have been many waves and types of immigration throughout the history of Denmark. While the share of immigrants and descendants accounted for three percent of the total population in the 1980s, it has increased to 13.8 percent as of 2020. The topics of migration, immigration, and integration were always relevant; however, they currently constitute some of the most heavily debated political subjects in the country.

The total population of Denmark is expected to increase over the next years, and so is the number of immigrants and descendants. In 2020, the population of Denmark consisted of five million people of Danish origin, 610 thousand immigrants, and 190 thousand descendants. Considering citizenship, 5.29 million people were Danish citizens, while around half a million had foreign citizenships.

The highest number of immigrants entered Denmark in 2015 when the European migrant situation was peaking. That year, close to 99 thousand immigrants and refugees came to Denmark. Due to tighter immigration rules, the number of both immigrants and refugees decreased in the following years, amounting to around 84 thousand in 2019. At the same time, the number of emigrants increased significantly, from 52 thousand in 2009 to roughly 75 thousand in 2019. Most emigrants from Denmark left for the United States, followed by the neighboring countries Germany and Sweden.

With approximately 42 thousand people, individuals of Polish origin constitute the largest group of immigrants in Denmark. Historically, many people of Turkish origin also resided in Denmark, but since 2015, the number of Syrian asylum seekers surpassed those of Turks, amounting to 35.5 thousand in 2019. Aside from Syrians, a significant amount of people from Eritrea, Somalia, and Morocco also applied for asylum in Denmark that year.

In 2019, Denmark received the fewest asylum applications in a decade, which was a result of several new policies implemented by the Danish government. These tightened immigration laws resulted in both fewer asylum requests and granted residence permits based on asylum. In the bigger picture, the number of people who are granted asylum in Denmark is remarkably low when compared to other groups of immigrants. In 2019, most immigrants to Denmark came from other European countries, reaching almost 37 thousand people. Furthermore, approximately 17 thousand students and roughly 15 thousand workers received residence permits that year. Asylum seekers thus constitute the group of immigrants which are granted the fewest permits in the country.

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Migration and integration in Denmark

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