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Expenditures for Social Protection

The purpose of the statistics on social protection expenditure is to provide an overall and cohesive description of social protection expenditure in the broadest sense of the term in the different EU Member States. It must be emphasized that not all items of social expenditure in the statistics on social protection expenditure are payable through public funds. The decisive criterion is that they are collective and compulsory, e.g. compulsory but private pension schemes are included in the statistics. Similarly, different compulsory expenditure paid by employers to national health insurance, etc. are included. Social expenditure statistics were originally established in the 1940s to meet the needs of the Nordic Ministers of Social Affairs in analysing the development in social expenditure and recipients of social benefits. This led to collaboration between the Nordic countries regarding comparative Nordic social statistics. A result of this is the annual publication Social Protection in the Nordic Countries.

Since 1972 the statistics are mainly set up to comply with EU's needs. EUROSTAT has developed common guidelines for comparable statistics in the field of ESSPROS (European system of integrated social protection statistics). A result of this work was ESSPROS manuals from 1981 and 1996, where the latter has been used in the statistics from 1994 onwards. The 1996 manual was slightly revised in 2008. So far there have not been legal acts in this field but in April 2007 a Council Regulation was passed.

In 2012 the Danish statistics were subjected to adjustments as from the survey year 2011. The purpose of the adjustments was, e.g. to enhance the comparability of the statistics to the statistics on public finance, which comply with the principles applied in the Danish national accounts. Another purpose was to make the statistics easier to understand in relation to other statistics as well as enhancing the documentation of the statistics with regard to the underlying accounting sources.

Statistical presentation

The statistic gives a coherent description of social costs from public as well as private intervention in order to relieve the burden connected with illness, invalidity, recreation, old age, unemployment, families and housing.

The concept of social measures (social benefits) is defined in a broad sense. The concept embraces payments in cash, coverage of expenditure paid and delivery of goods and services. It is not essential whether the benefits are provided under the auspices of private or public bodies.

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Statistical processing

Not relevant for these statistics.

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Data is in big demand from international organisations.

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Accuracy and reliability

Complete coverage. In accordance with the ESSPROS classification, all items of expenditure are covered.

Inaccuracy: High reliability as the primary data are based on final accounts. However, there is a greater inaccuracy associated with the figures at the more detailed level. In connection with the reorganization of the statistics there have been many improvements and work is ongoing to improve the uncertainty of the statistical information at the most detailed level.

Errors are not calculated.

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Timeliness and punctuality


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The statistic was reorganized in 2012 and the revised data goes back to 2007 and are not comparable to data before 2007.

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Accessibility and clarity

The statistics are published annually in News from Statistics Denmark and Statistical News. Furthermore, annual figures are published in Statistical Yearbook and Statistical Ten-Year Review.

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