Denmark’s immigration and emigration is mostly to and from Western countries

A publication released by official statistics bureau Statistics Denmark on Wednesday notes that two-thirds of immigration to the Scandinavian country in 2018 was from other Western countries.

Denmark’s immigration and emigration is mostly to and from Western countries
Photo: Celina Dahl/Ritzau Scanpix

For emigration, the proportion was almost as high, according to the report, which is titled Befolkningens udvikling 2018 (Population Development 2018).

“If you look at the top ten countries for immigration to and emigration from Denmark in 2018, you will find almost exclusively Western countries. The United States is prominent with regard to both immigration and emigration but countries such as Germany, the UK, Romania and Sweden are also highly present,” Lisbeth Harbo, the author of the report, said via a press statement.

“The only two non-Western countries to be found in the top ten list for immigration and emigration are India as a source country for immigration and China as a recipient for emigrants from Denmark,” Harbo continued.

67 percent of immigration to Denmark in 2018 was from Western countries. The United States was the top Western country on the list for both emigration and immigration, according to the publication.

Of people emigrating from Denmark in 2017, 63 percent left for Western countries.

Total immigration to Denmark in 2018 was 87,329 persons, while emigration was 68,645 persons, giving a net immigration of 18,684, the report found.

As such, net immigration is just under 21 percent lower than the average for the past 10 years. The decline is mainly due to increased emigration, Statistics Denmark writes.

The top ten source countries for immigration to Denmark in 2018 were:

  1. United States
  2. Germany
  3. Romania
  4. United Kingdom
  5. Poland
  6. Sweden
  7. Norway
  8. Spain
  9. India
  10. Lithuania

The top ten destinations for emigrants were:

  1. United States
  2. Germany
  3. Sweden
  4. United Kingdom
  5. Norway
  6. Poland
  7. Romania
  8. Spain
  9. China
  10. India

It should be noted that the designation of ‘source country’ means simply that the person moved to Denmark from that country. So someone who moved to Denmark from Germany, for example was not necessarily a German citizen and could in fact have been a Dane returning home, or a third nationality. The same distinction applies to emigrations.

Based on citizenship alone, the top ten nationalities immigrating to Denmark in 2018 were:

  1. Romania
  2. Poland
  3. United States
  4. Germany
  5. India
  6. Lithuania
  7. Ukraine
  8. Italy
  9. United Kingdom
  10. China

The report also includes information on the total number of births and deaths, age distribution and number of marriages and divorces. You can read it in full (in Danish) here.

READ ALSO: Emigration from Denmark increased in 2018, while population continues to grow

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How the EU aims to reform border-free Schengen area

European countries agreed on Thursday to push towards a long-stalled reform of the bloc's migration system, urging tighter control of external borders and better burden-sharing when it comes to asylum-seekers.

How the EU aims to reform border-free Schengen area
European interior ministers met in the northern French city of tourcoing, where president Emmanuel Macron gave a speech. Photo: Yoat Valat/AFP

The EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson, speaking after a meeting of European interior ministers, said she welcomed what she saw as new momentum on the issue.

In a reflection of the deep-rooted divisions on the issue, France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin – whose country holds the rotating EU presidency – said the process would be “gradual”, and welcomed what he said was unanimous backing.

EU countries backed a proposal from French President Emmanuel Macron to create a council guiding policy in the Schengen area, the passport-free zone used by most EU countries and some affiliated nations such as Switzerland and Norway.

Schengen council

Speaking before the meeting, Macron said the “Schengen Council” would evaluate how the area was working but would also take joint decisions and facilitate coordination in times of crisis.

“This council can become the face of a strong, protective Europe that is comfortable with controlling its borders and therefore its destiny,” he said.

The first meeting is scheduled to take place on March 3rd in Brussels.

A statement released after the meeting said: “On this occasion, they will establish a set of indicators allowing for real time evaluation of the situation at our borders, and, with an aim to be able to respond to any difficulty, will continue their discussions on implementing new tools for solidarity at the external borders.”

Step by step

The statement also confirmed EU countries agreed to take a step-by-step approach on plans for reforming the EU’s asylum rules.

“The ministers also discussed the issues of asylum and immigration,” it read.

“They expressed their support for the phased approach, step by step, put forward by the French Presidency to make headway on these complex negotiations.

“On this basis, the Council will work over the coming weeks to define a first step of the reform of the European immigration and asylum system, which will fully respect the balance between the requirements of responsibility and solidarity.”

A planned overhaul of EU migration policy has so far foundered on the refusal of countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia to accept a sharing out of asylum-seekers across the bloc.

That forces countries on the EU’s outer southern rim – Italy, Greece, Malta and Spain – to take responsibility for handling irregular migrants, many of whom are intent on making their way to Europe’s wealthier northern nations.

France is pushing for member states to commit to reinforcing the EU’s external borders by recording the details of every foreign arrival and improving vetting procedures.

It also wants recalcitrant EU countries to financially help out the ones on the frontline of migration flows if they do not take in asylum-seekers themselves.

Johansson was critical of the fact that, last year, “45,000 irregular arrivals” were not entered into the common Eurodac database containing the fingerprints of migrants and asylum-seekers.

Earlier, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser suggested her country, France and others could form a “coalition of the willing” to take in asylum-seekers even if no bloc-wide agreement was struck to share them across member states.

She noted that Macron spoke of a dozen countries in that grouping, but added that was probably “very optimistic”.

Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, hailed what he said was “a less negative atmosphere” in Thursday’s meeting compared to previous talks.

But he cautioned that “we cannot let a few countries do their EU duty… while others look away”.

France is now working on reconciling positions with the aim of presenting propositions at a March 3rd meeting on European affairs.