The descendants of non-Western immigrants perform significantly worse in school than their Danish counterparts, Statistics Denmark’s annual overview of the nation’s immigrants revealed.
Over the past five years, the average mark for Danish students at the conclusion of their compulsory education was 6.4 for boys and 7.3 for girls*. For the descendants of non-Western immigrants, the average grade was 5.0 for boys and 5.4 for girls.
The grade gap continues into the next generation as well. Children of the descendants of non-Western immigrants had an average graduating mark of 5.3 for boys and 5.8 for girls in 2013, still well behind the average mark received by Danish boys (6.6) and Danish girls (7.3).
The lower grades in primary and secondary school do not have a significant impact on higher education however. In 2014, 49 percent of 22-year-old male non-Western descendants and 61 percent of 22-year-old female non-Western descendants were pursuing a higher education, just two to three percentage points below Danes of the same age.
Immigrants more likely to be unemployed and on benefits
Another conclusion of the 126-page report
released on Wednesday was that non-Western immigrants have an age-adjusted employment rate that is 38 percent lower than that of Danes. According to the report, immigrants and their children were also harder hit by the economic crisis than the Danes.
The report also found that non-Western immigrants generally receive more social benefits than Danes and that the gap increases in the upper age brackets. Nearly two thirds of non-Western immigrants aged 55-59 are on public assistance, compared to 26 percent of Danes in the same age group.
Immigrants from Iraq, Somalia and Lebanon are the most likely to be on public assistance, with a whole four out five female immigrants on public benefits coming from the latter two countries.
Immigrants are however more likely to fill entrepreneur roles than Danes. While just 6.2 percent of Danes are self-employed, 6.8 percent of Western immigrants and 9.8 percent of non-Western immigrants work for themselves.
Birth rates are falling
In 2014, immigrants and their descendants accounted for 11.1 percent of Denmark’s total population. As of January 1st, there were 199,829 Western immigrants and 276,230 non-Western immigrants in Denmark along with 21,984 descendants of Westerners and 128,027 descendants of non-Western immigrants.
Those numbers are 5.5 times higher than the number of non-Western immigrants who lived in Denmark in 1984. The gap in birth rates between immigrants and Danes has shrunk significantly in recent years so that now non-Western immigrants have an average of 1.8 children compared to 1.69 children for Danes.
Statistics Denmark defines descendants of immigrants (efterkommere) as someone who was born in Denmark to non-Danish parents. If and when the parents receive Danish citizenship, their children are no longer considered descendants in the official statistics.
* The Danish grading system uses a seven point scale that was introduced in 2007:
12 = excellent (ECTS equivalent = A)
10 = very good (ECTS equivalent = B)
7 = good (ECTS equivalent = C)
4 = fair (ECTS equivalent = D)
2 = adequate (ECTS equivalent = E)
0 = inadequate (ECTS equivalent = Fx)
-3 = unacceptable (ECTS equivalent = F)