Immigration stabilises population as birth rates plummet

May 16th, 2013

This article is more than 11 years old.

For the first time ever, more people might die in Denmark than are born to replace them

Denmark’s population would have shrunk in 2013 if it weren’t for immigration, according to new figures from Statistics Denmark.

In the first three months of 2012, Danish women gave birth to 13,572 children while 15,155 people died, leaving a 1,583 person deficit – the largest since the fourth quarter of 1993.

Denmark’s population remained steady, however, because of a net immigration of 7,766 people over the same period, a 24 percent rise on the same period last year.

According to Bent Greve, a professor of social science at Roskilde University, the trend is worrying.

“It is probably a reflection of the fact that people are worried about their careers and don’t think it’s possible to have both a job and children,” Greve told Jyllands-Posten. “But it’s surprising and paradoxical that so few people want children because, compared to the rest of the EU, we have some of Europe’s best facilities for caring for them.”

Greve added that while immigration was supporting Denmark’s population and helping ensure there isn't a labour shortage, Denmark faces some demographic challenges.

“Our reproductive level is negative and it has been for some years. It means that our population pyramid will soon be distorted, with many old people and fewer young people because we are living longer and longer.”

In the 2000s, the birth rate was on the rise until 2008, when 65,000 children were born. Last year, births dropped to 58,000 and the number looks set to drop even further.

“We may even have more deaths than births this year, and we haven’t experienced that before,” Greve said.


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