Denmark: Non-Western women having less children than Danes

Denmark: Non-Western women having less children than Danes

Update: updated figures for previous years, mistranslation.

Update 2: Kristeligt Dagblad corrected their story. Non-Western immigrants and Danish women have about the same number of children.

A long-time trend of fewer births among immigrants means that their birthrate is now lower than for ethnic Danes. While Danish women have 1.9 children on average, non-Western immigrant women have 1.6. [Ed: 1997: 1.97/1998: 1.94 ]

This according to new data for fertility in 2009, provided by Denmark Statistics for the Integration Ministry, but which hasn't been published yet. The birthrate among immigrant women has been cut by more than half since 1993, when the average woman had 3.4 children, twice as many as Danish women did.

This article was prepared by the Islam in Europe blog -

Garbi Schmidt, senior researcher and Phd of Islamic Studies at SFI (National Centre for Social Research) sees several explanation for this development.

One is that ethnic minority women are postponing having children in order to further their education. There's now a lot of emphasis on getting an education and people are very ambitious about their educational achievements.

Another reason is that the immigrant way of life is becoming more and more similar to that of Danes. Immigrant are copying Danish norms and values regarding family, marriage and education. This means that ethnic minority women put off creating families, and this also affect the men.

Garbi Schmidt also thinks that the stricter laws for family reunification led to this development. Last year an SFI study she led showed that some youth of ethnic minority background postpone marriage to these laws. This means, she says, that they'll have children at a later age, and possibly fewer children.

Manu Sareen, integration consultant and member of the Copenhagen city council (Social Liberals), says that this development is 'totally wild' and that it is due to a decade of political attention. Throughout the years there's been a silent revolution among minority women, who are breaking away from the social traditions. The government were super good in supporting this development with projects, mentors etc. There's no doubt, he says, that this is one of the fruits of this effort and that the integration ministry can be proud of it.

He adds that a change in the migration pattern might also play a role in this development. Today many immigrants from non-Western countries come from the cities and are more educated than those who came in the 1990s.

Karsten Lauritzen, integration spokesperson for the Liberals, agree and is happy about the development. He says it shows that many immigrant women are educated and employed and that integration is advancing.

Source: Kristeligt Dagblad (Danish)

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