More name changes, less immigration: The surprising (and unsurprising) stats from Denmark’s Covid-19 crisis

More name changes, less immigration: The surprising (and unsurprising) stats from Denmark's Covid-19 crisis
File photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix
A new publication from Statistics Denmark (DST) has shed light on a number of population trends during the coronavirus epidemic in the Scandinavian country.

While closed borders unsurprisingly resulted in fewer people moving to Denmark, other statistics are less predictable — such as a significant increase in the number of people who changed their first names.

The publication, “Covid-19 i befolknings- og kriminalitetsstatistikken i 2020” (Covid-19 in population and crime statistics in 2020) was released by the agency on Wednesday.

Last year saw 29 percent more people change their first names than the average for the period 2015-2019, according to the report.

“Why the lockdown apparently has affected the number of name changes, we can only speculate about. But since the trend in 2020 was so marked, we have decided to include it in this publication,” DST writes in the report.

A total of 5,932 people changed their first names in 2020. The average for the preceding 5 years was around 4,600 name changes annually.

The majority of those who decided to change their names were women, who comprise 3,827 of the 5,932 alterations.

Most of the changes took place in months after the initial coronavirus lockdown in March 2020, according to DST.

Meanwhile, the total number of foreigners who immigrated to Denmark fell in 2020 by 30 percent. For April and May, the decrease was as high as 81 and 77 percent respectively.

Emigration’s also fell last year, by 13 percent.

The number of Danes who moved back home increased by 84 percent in March as the government encouraged its foreign based nationals to return home. But the overall level of returning Danes was similar to that in previous years.

The population grew by 0.29 percent throughout the year, or around 17,000 people. That is a similar rate to the one recorded in 2019, but slightly under the average of 0.5 percent for the prior 5 years.

Lower immigration (due to travel restrictions) is the likeliest cause for this drop, DST writes.

Divorces increased by five percent compared to the average rate for the years 2015-2019.

That number could reflect a strain on households caused by home working and lockdowns introduced in response to the pandemic.

Another statistic which is perhaps easier to directly connect to the fact people were at home more is the drop in break-ins.

As many as 29 percent fewer homes were broken into in 2020 compared to the preceding five-year average.

A total of 54,645 people died in Denmark last year, a slightly higher figure than that for 2019, which stood at 53,958. Seen as a measure of population size, the death rate remained stable at approximately 10 deaths per 1,000 residents in the country.

But DST found that deaths were notably higher in the winter months of late 2020 and early 2021 than they were 12 months prior.

For both years, more people died in wintertime than during the summer, which is an established trend.

The relatively high number of deaths during the 2020/21 winter season “could possibly be related to the Covid-19 pandemic,” the DST report states.

January 2021 was the month in which Denmark recorded the highest number of deaths related to Covid-19, with 817 registered during that month. December 2020 was the second highest, with 490.

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