Immigration and integration minister Mattias Tesfaye has signalled his support for the statistical differentiation of people in Denmark with Middle Eastern and North African heritage.
Categorising people according to region is beneficial in understanding patterns of crime and employment in people in Denmark with foreign heritage (indvandrere og efterkommere), the minister said in an interview with newspaper Berlingske.
“We need more honest numbers and I think it will benefit and qualify the integration debate if we get these figures out in the open, because fundamentally, they show that we in Denmark don’t really have problems with people from Latin America and the Far East. We have problems with people from the Middle East and North Africa,” Tesfaye said to the newspaper.
Under the current system, Denmark differentiates between ‘Western’ and ‘non-Western’ heritage in official statistics on immigrants and their children.
All EU countries, along with Andorra, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Vatican are considered ‘Western'. Everywhere else is ‘non-Western'.
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.
While an ‘immigrant' was born outside of Denmark, a ‘descendant' (efterkommer) is also considered to be ‘foreign’ for statistical purposes, despite being born in Denmark.
But the Ministry of Immigration and Integration is to further separate the two groups of immigrants and their children into the so-called ‘Menapt’ group, meaning people from the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey, according to Berlingske and Ritzau.
All are Muslim-majority countries or regions.
The nationalities encompassed by the group are over-represented in crime and unemployment statistics, Ritzau writes.
According to a ministry note reported by Berlingske, women with heritage in Menapt countries had an employment rate of 41.9 percent in 2018, compared to 61.6 percent for women from other non-Western countries such as Thailand and Vietnam.