The total population of Denmark is expected to increase over the next years, and so is the number of immigrants and descendants. In 2021, the population of Denmark consisted of five million people of Danish origin, 620 thousand immigrants, and 200 thousand descendants. Considering citizenship, 5.3 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 70 thousand in 2020. At the same time, the number of emigrants generally increased significantly, but declined again in 2020 due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. The highest number among the 59 thousand emigrants that year left for Germany, followed by Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
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 2020, Denmark received the fewest asylum applications in a decade, which was a result of the coronavirus crisis and 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 2020, most immigrants to Denmark came from other European countries, reaching almost 37 thousand people. Furthermore, approximately 12 thousand workers and roughly nine thousand students received residence permits that year. Asylum seekers thus constitute the group of immigrants which are granted the fewest permits in the country.