Population of people with non-Danish ethnic backgrounds to exceed 800,000 by 2060: report

Population of people with non-Danish ethnic backgrounds to exceed 800,000 by 2060: report
Asylum seekers in Denmark in 2016. Photo: Henning Bagger/Scanpix 2016
Official agency Statistics Denmark has estimated that the number of people it defines as ‘immigrants or descendants of immigrants’ will increase to 867,258 by 2060.

The current number of 'non-Western immigrants or descendants' is 493,468.

Newspapers Berlingske and Jyllands-Posten both reported the Statistics Denmark (DST) figures on Wednesday.

People of foreign heritage are categorized by DST into two groups: ‘immigrants’ and ‘descendants’ of immigrants (‘efterkommere’ in Danish).

An ‘immigrant’ was born outside of Denmark, while a ‘descendant' was born in Denmark to parents who are not Danish citizens.

A person is considered to have Danish heritage if she or he was born in Denmark and has at least one parent who is a Danish citizen.

According to the DST projection, immigrants and descendants in 2060 will account for 13.1 percent of the population, as compared to the 8.5 percent today. 

Mads Fuglede, spokesperson on immigration with the governing Liberal (Venstre) party, said that this estimation emphasizes the need for a tighter programme on immigration. 

“It is very important that we control our refugee flow into Denmark,” Fuglede told Ritzau.

“It is less problematic when people come and work than when they come and are not willing to integrate and or do not have the skills needed for the Danish labour market,” he added. 

Social Democratic immigration spokesperson Mattias Tesfaye, expressed a similar opinion. Tesfaye noted that over the last 10 years, over 100,000 residency permits have been granted to refugees and relatives granted family reunification. 

“Many (asylum seekers) are unskilled and in need of psychologists, which are already in short supply,” Tesfaye said.

“(Denmark) can cope with this for a year or two, but it has now been ten years in a row, and that’s too much” he told Berlingske

Researchers have warned that the rising number of non-Western immigrants could negatively impact the Danish welfare system if integration does not improve, according to Jyllands-Posten’s report.

“The funding of our welfare system is built on the premise that the majority of the population is working,” Jan Rose Skaksen, head of research with the Rockwool Foundation, an independent research organization, told the newspaper.

“But if they are not (working), they do not contribute, and some may prove an expense in the form of benefits,” Skaksen added.

55 percent of male and 46 percent of female non-Western immigrants are employed, according to latest figures, while 74 and 77 percent of ethnic Danish men and women are employed. 

Steen Nielsen, deputy director with the Confederation of Danish Industry, said that high numbers of immigrants should be considered an opportunity.

“Many new jobs are being created and there is a demand for a growing workforce, which is why it is an ideal time to improve integration,” Nielsen told Jyllands-Posten.

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