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Statistical presentation

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Population and Education, Social statistics
Dorthe Larsen
+45 3317 3307

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The Population

The population statistics are usually a quarterly aggregation of the population living in Denmark broken down by e.g. sex, age, ancestry, marital status and municipality of residence. In connection with COVID-19, however, the number of deceased persons was aggregated on a weekly basis broken down by date of death, age bracket and province. The population statistics show the population in figures at the reference date in terms of persons, households and families. The statistics also show changes in the population, such as births, deaths and migrations etc., in the period between the two reference dates. Similarly, the statistics contain information about fertility, life expectancy and divorce rate.

Data description

The population statistics show the resident population of Denmark broken down by sex, age, citizenship, country of birth, ancestry, country of origin, marital status and municipality of residence. Resident population means persons who are entitled and required to register in the Civil Registration System. Not all persons living in Denmark are entitled and required to register in the Civil Registration System. E.g., asylum seekers are not permanent residents of Denmark and for that reason, they are not included in the population figures, but information about asylum seekers can be found in the statistics of Asylum Applications and Residence Permits. Immigrants staying in Denmark illegally are not included in the resident population. The Rockwool Foundation Research Unit estimated the number of persons staying illegally in Denmark in 2015 to be 18,000 (with a margin of uncertainty of approximately 2,000).

The population statistics also show the development of the population in the course of a year or a quarter. Figures are available for the number of live births, deaths, migrations in and out as well as immigration and emigration for all Danish municipalities. In addition, change to Danish citizenship is broken down by former citizenship. The population accounts show the correlation between the population at the beginning and at the end of the quarter and the intermediate figures for live births, deaths, immigration and emigration on a municipal level.

Data for live-born children is used to calculate age-specific fertility rates as well as total fertility broken down by municipality, age and ancestry respectively. Total fertility indicates the number of liveborn children that 1,000 women will bring into the world during their childbearing age of 15-49 years if none of the 1,000 women die before the age of 50 and, in each age bracket, they give birth to exactly the number of children specified by the year’s fertility rates. A gross reproduction figure is also calculated, which reflects the number of girls born per woman if no women die before the age of 50 and, in each age bracket, they give birth to exactly the number of children that appears from the age-specific fertility rates. However, some women die before they turn 50, which is taken into account in the net reproduction figure. Correspondingly, data for deaths is used to calculate life expectancy broken down by e.g. sex and municipality. Life expectancy reflects the number of years that people have left to live if future mortality corresponds to the present age-specific mortality rates.
In addition to assessing the population in terms of the number of persons, the population statistics include the number of households (persons at the same address) and families (persons at the same address and with an interrelation). The statistics on households are broken down by municipalities, types of households, sizes of households and number of children, in the same way as the statistics on families is broken down by municipalities, types of families, sizes of families and number of children. They further include tables on children, which are broken down by municipalities, types of households, types of families, sibling relationships etc. Furthermore, the population statistics include tables of marriages and divorces. The statistics on marriages are broken down by the residences (municipality) of the parties, ages, countries of origin and their former marital status. The tables are divided into opposite-sex marriages and same-sex marriages. Statistics are also published on the average age of people getting married.

The figures on divorces and dissolved partnerships are broken down by sex. The tables on divorces between opposite-sex couples are broken down by the parties’ residential addresses, ages, duration of marriage, country of origin and ancestry. Statistics are also available on how often marriages end in divorce (divorce rate). Tables are available on migrations in Denmark both within and between municipalities and regions as well as broken down by sex, age, receiving municipality and municipality from which a person moves etc. The number of vacated abandoned dwellings is also recorded and the type of family involved before and after a change of address, so that it is possible e.g. to look into the number of persons who switch from living alone to living with a partner. Figures are also available for immigration to and emigration from Denmark – both for persons with Danish citizenship and persons with foreign citizenship.

Classification system

The statistics are broken down by the 98 municipalities, 11 provinces and 5 regions of Denmark as well as police districts. In addition, Eurostat has made a classification dividing municipalities by population density called Degree of Urbanisation, abbreviated DEGURBA. These are some of the classifications applied in the population statistics: - Marital status (unmarried, married/separated, widow/widower, divorcee) - Ancestry (Danish origin, immigrant, descendant) - Countries in social statistics, which can be aggregated to continents or Western/non-Western countries.

Deaths are broken down by causes of death.

Marriages are broken down by marriage authority (church, registrar, abroad, N/A)

Households are broken down by types of households (single men, single women, married couples, other couples, children under 18 years not living at home, other households comprising several families).

Figures for families are distributed by family type (single men, single women, opposite-sex married couples, same-sex married couples, registered partnerships, couples living in consensual union, cohabiting couples, children under 18 years not living at home).

Sector coverage

Not relevant for these statistics.

Statistical concepts and definitions

Residence in Denmark: The various statistics are based on the resident population in Denmark. The permanent address concept, which is used in the populations statistics, is the same as that used by the local register (the permanent address is defined as the place where you with some regularity sleep, when you are not abroad because of holidays, business trips, or the place where you have your belongings.)

Marital status (legal status): Declaration of marital status. The marital status is the legal status.

Citizenship: The country where the person do have nationality (citizenship) in. If people have nationality (citizenship) in both Denmark and a foreign country do the Danish nationality (citizenship) have priority.

Statistical unit

Persons, households, families, children, marriages and divorces.

Statistical population

The population is the resident population of Denmark.

Reference area

Denmark excl. Greenland and Faroe Islands.

Time coverage

Population Statistics comprise the period from 2007 and forward.

Base period

Not relevant for these statistics.

Unit of measure

Number, year, per 1,000 women, per cent.

Reference period

The reference periods are 1 January, 1 April, 1 July and 1 October for the composition of the population and the whole quarter/year for movements in the population.

Frequency of dissemination

The general population statistics are published on a quarterly basis, but figures for deaths are published weekly in response to COVID-19. Tables on migrations, divorces, fertility, deaths etc. are updated annually. However, preliminary overall data is released every quarter regarding marriages, divorces, changes of address and migrations.

Legal acts and other agreements

Act on Statistics Denmark, cf. consolidating act no. 599 of 22 June 2000. Regulation (EU) No 1260/2013 deals with European demographic statistics, Regulation (EC) No 763/2008 is about population and housing censuses and Regulation (EC) No 862/2007 concerns migration and international protection.

Cost and burden

The statistics are based on administrative registers. This means that there is no direct reporting task involved in the compilation of these statistics.


You can find further information on the subject pages on population figures, immigrants and their descendants, births, deaths, households, families and children, marriages, internal migration etc. or request it from Statistics Denmark.