One in four people infected with Covid-19 in Denmark is from minority background

Author thumbnail
Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
One in four people infected with Covid-19 in Denmark is from minority background
Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

Just over 25 percent of people who have been infected with the new coronavirus in Denmark come from minority ethnic backgrounds, meaning the demographic is over-represented in the figures.


A report from the State Serum Institute (SSI), the national infectious disease institute, found that 25.7 percent of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 are from ‘non-Western’ backgrounds.

‘Non-Western’ people make up 8.9 percent of the population, according to SSI’s analysis.

Statistics Denmark considers ‘Western’ to mean originating from EU countries along with Andorra, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Everywhere else is ‘non-Western'.

People considered not of Danish heritage are categorised into two groups: ‘immigrants' and ‘descendants' of immigrants (‘efterkommere' in Danish).

A person is considered to have Danish heritage if she or he has at least one parent who is a Danish citizen and was born in Denmark. People defined as ‘immigrants' and ‘descendants' do not fulfil those criteria. The difference between the two is that an ‘immigrant' was born outside of Denmark, while a ‘descendant' was born in Denmark. 

READ ALSO: Here's where Denmark's foreign residents live and where they come from

People with heritage in Somalia, Pakistan and Turkey constitute a relatively large proportion of the cases in Denmark, with between 646 and 676 cases for each of those three countries.


The figures cover the period from the beginning of the pandemic until the first week of September.

From March 23rd onwards a “significantly higher” proportion of people from minority backgrounds have been tested for the virus, the SSI report also states.

The higher infection figures amongst minority groups are significant because they could point to trends relating to living conditions or people who work in higher-risk sectors.

“(The high number of positive tests) may be a result of people of non-Western heritage to a greater extent working in sectors or living in housing conditions where they have a greater risk of being infected,” the report states.

READ ALSO: Why coronavirus spike in Aarhus was not caused by a single event

536 new cases of Covid-19 were registered across Denmark on Friday, continuing the trend of increased infections in the country seen since mid-September. 106 people are currently admitted to hospital with the virus, with 17 in ICU care.


Comments (1)

Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

Anonymous 2020/10/03 03:45
This is certainly due to very low Vitamin D levels in those people. Darker and black skins camnot develop enough Vitamin D from the sun in northern latitudes. Vitamin D boosts the immune system and has a protective effect on the alveoli in the lungs. It is important to inform these immigrant families about Vitamin D and encourage them to take relatively high doses of it daily, especially in Autumn and Winter when there is far less sunlight. Vitamin D is very cheap.

See Also