Fewer Danes breaking from their social heritage

Expert believes children from underprivileged circumstances should get more support, starting already in kindergarten

A new analysis by the Economic Council of the Labour Movement has revealed that fewer Danes are able to break from their social heritage and that more of them remain trapped in what the organisation calls an “underclass”.

Back in 2003, some 24 percent of the children who grew up in the lower social class also lived in it as adults. By 2013, that proportion had increased to 33 percent.

The researchers compared the social class of a group of Danish 17-year-olds in 1995 to their situation in 2013 by the time they were 35 years old.

Social mobility has been constant for decades, so it’s surprising that it has become harder to break free from one’s social class,” Anders Holm, a professor at the National Centre for Social Research, told DR.

Holm suggests children from underprivileged circumstances should get more support in kindergartens and public schools.

‘Underclass’ people are defined as those who are outside the labour market for more than four-fifths of the year.

According to estimates in 2012, every fifth Dane of a working age – 14 percent of all families – belong to the ‘underclass’ in Denmark, compared to every tenth family in 1985.