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Income Statistics

The purpose of the income statistics - is to provide statistics on the population's incomes and tax payments as well as the distribution of incomes. The statistics are useful in the field of social sciences and form the basis for effective policymaking in areas that affect the economic situation of the households. Statistics Denmark has published statistics on income since 1905 and has coherent time series going back to the 1980’s.

Statistical presentation

The income statistics are based on a full-population register. It contains information on annual incomes at both the personal- and family level as well as data on the distribution of income. The income is available both pre- and post taxes and can be split into subcategories such as primary income, transfers, property income and taxes. In the income statistics the population is divided into groups by age, socio-economic status, gender, municipalities (NUTS-3), type of family and into income intervals.

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Statistical processing

Data is collected and published yearly. The primary source is administrative data from the Danish tax authorities. Using secondary sources from the municipalities and unemployment funds the incomes are subdivided into more detailed types of income. Finally other registers in Statistics Denmark, such as the population register, provide background information.

In case of inconsistencies between data sources on the total income amounts, the data are fitted to match the level of the tax authorities, which are assumed to be correct.

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Relevance

The primary users of the income statistics are ministries, municipalities, research institutes and the media. An annual meeting with some of the users of the main welfare statistics is held in Statistics Denmark. On a daily basis users call with questions related to the statistics or comment on our publications on social media. Through these interactions with the users we continually assess the need for improvements of the statistics.

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Accuracy and reliability

The quality is in general considered to be very good for the income types included in the statistics as data have been validated by the tax authorities. Undeclared incomes, winnings in lotteries etc. may result in a mismatch between actual and registered income.

As the income statistics are based on full-population registers, there are no sampling errors.

In 2021 data is extracted in August. Thus revisions after this date will not be taken into account in the income statistics.

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Timeliness and punctuality

Most tables on income statistics are published in September, nine months after the end of the income reference year along with the annual newsletter. Socio-economic status, imputed rent, disposable income and income distribution indicators are published in November. In 2019 and 2020 the publication have been moved until November.

Apart from the COVID-19 delays, the statistics have always been published as planned.

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Comparability

Especially the extraordinary payout of 2 weeks worth of wages as part of a COVID 19-relief package affects the income levels in 2021. COVID-19 also makes indicators on relative poverty - designed for measuring social exclusion difficult to interpret.

Income statistics are quite consistent over time if you use the coherent time series on our website. The statistics were last revised in 2013. Data dating back to 1987 has been revised. A change in the vacation law has caused differences between national accounts and income statistics in the years 2020-2021. Eurostat and OECD are the recommended sources for making international comparisons.

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Accessibility and clarity

The statistics are published on our website, in an annual newsletter and via the statbank.

Furthermore there are tables on income in the publication Statistisk Tiårsoversigt (Danish only)

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