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

From 1956 to 2018, Denmark has granted asylum to a total of 163,250 refugees = on average 2.630 per year. During the two years 2015-2016 alone, the number was 18,342. But if collected in 5 year intervals, the last 5 years have not been high. Both 1985-89 and 1995-99 were higher, see the last graphic. Since spring 2016 very few new refugees have come to Denmark, which means that only 800 refugees were received in the municipalities in 2018, and this year the number seems to be even lower.

In total, there are 600,000 foreigners and refugees living in Denmark, from Western and non-Western countries. It could seem like alot, but in fact refugees only formed 2% of all the foreigners who got a residence permit in 2018. 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 though a person acquires permanent residence permit over time, she/he will still be in the statistics as a refugee and non-Western immigrant. Only when citizenship is granted will the status change to 'Dane'. Even 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) has been chosen from very different countries and from changing criteria. Since 1978 Denmrak has receied a quota of 500 a year from UN, but in the years 2016-18 we did not accept any.


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