Denmark: Marked differences between immigrant and Danish children

Denmark: Marked differences between immigrant and Danish children

A study in Denmark of 11 year olds shows that there are big differences between Danish children and immigrant children.

Mette Deding of SFI says she was surprised that there were so many differences. She would have expected that the groups of children would be more similar.

In general, immigrant families are bigger and have less money. The parents are less educated and more often on unemployment and welfare. The mothers suffer more often from fear, depression and fatigue. More fathers have sat in prison. But in some areas the immigrant children do better than their Danish counterparts. They're more likely to want to go to school.

Two thirds of Danish boys say that it's good or really good to go to school, compared to close to 90% of immigrant girls who say they're very glad to go to school.

The study doesn't say, however, what makes it so much fun to go to school: the teachers, subjects or fellow students. But, says Mette Deding, it might mean that it's only in the higher classes, when there are greater demands, that things go wrong.

Danish children go more often to organized after-school activities such as football, scouts, riding or dance classes. Immigrant girls in particular don't go to organized after-school activities.

Danish children often invite friends home, while immigrant children prefer to meet their friends elsewhere. The researchers say this is important for their socializing in Danish society.

Mette Deding says that by going home with friends the children learn of life in other families. It's an important part of the child's upbringing and their socializing, and immigrant children don't get it to the same degree. The same happens in organized after-school activities, where you could socialize and come in contact with an important part of Danish society.

The study also shows that more immigrant children live in a core family with both a father and mother. Among Danish families it's more widespread that the children live with their mother's new husband.

Source: Kristeligt Dagblad (Danish)

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