How many refugees have Denmark received over the years and where did they come from?

According the Statistics Denmark, 114,000 have residence in Denmark due to asylum. The number is not significantly rising. During the two years 2015 and 2016 a total of 18,342 were granted asylum which is a high number, but divided into periods of five years the last period has not been especially high. Both 1985-89 and 1995-99 were higher, see the last graphic. Since spring 2016 very few refugees have come to Denmark.

In total, there are 614,000 foreigners and refugees living in Denmark. It could seem like a lot, but in fact refugees only formed 1-2% of all the foreigners who got a residence permit in recent years. And in time, many will get Danish citizenship, their children will grow up and become Danish. It's hard to imagine Denmark today without the refugees from Hungary, Vietnam, Chile, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Iran, Bosnia etc. who have become an important part of society.

(incl. humanitarian and resettlement)

Even if a person acquires permanent residence permit over time, she/he will still be in the statistics as a refugee, a non-Western immigrant or a descendant. Not even a Danish citizenship will move you to the category "Dane" – this requires being born here and having at leats one parent with Danish citizenship. For some reason, refugees from ex-Jugoslavia are counted as non-Western, though they come from Europe.

The number of refugees has fluctuated a lot over the years and the nationalities have varied widely. Some nationalities have arrived in a very short period (for example Chileans and Bosnians) and others have arrived over a longer time span (for example Afghans and Iraqis). During recent years, Syrians, Eritreans and Iranians have been the largest groups.

Resettlement refugees (quota refugees) have been chosen from very different countries and from changing criteria. Since 1978 Denmark has receied a quota of 500 a year from UN, but in the years 2016-18 we did not accept any. In 2019 we received only 31, and in 2020 it was 200.


Get a fact sheet with the precise numbers and more about the sources for this graphic.