Denmark Geography and Population

Denmark – population

It is possible to follow the demographic development of the Danish population back to 1735 on the basis of censuses and statistics on births and deaths.

The population

In 1735 the population comprised approximately 718,000 people. The first census took place in 1769, when 797,584 people were counted. Censuses have been held in Denmark every 5 or 10 years since 1840, the last time in 1970. Since then, administrative registers have been used to calculate the size of the population. In the first quarter of 2017, the population was 5,748,769 people.

  • Countryaah: Do you know how many people there are in Denmark? Check this site to see population pyramid and resident density about this country.

The geographical area as a basis for censuses has changed size twice: in 1864, when the duchies were ceded to Prussia, and in 1920, when Southern Jutland was reunited with Denmark. In the year 1900, the population in Southern Jutland was approximately 148,000 people.

Development of population growth

The size and growth of the population is a result of the interplay between mortality, fertility (births) and migration. The Danish demographic statistics provide a unique opportunity to follow the development from the 1700’s. and onwards, where four periods reflect the different population development trends.

1735-80. Both the mortality and fertility ratios (number of deaths and births per 1000 persons) were high during this period; The life expectancy of a newborn has probably been 35-40 years, and the infant mortality rate is approximately 20%. Mortality and fertility were at about the same high level, so that natural population growth was low and in some years downright negative. This is typical of a pre-industrial society where the more modern social and medical advances have not yet begun. The high mortality rate, which rose sharply in certain years, was linked to epidemics. In previous periods, the epidemics have been even more violent, for example, it is estimated that in the 1650’s there was a population decline in Denmark of 25-30% as a consequence of the Thirty Years’ War and the Karl Gustav Wars.

1780-1890 was characterized by a marked decrease in mortality, while fertility was at the same level as in the previous period. The mortality rate is remarkable, as no groundbreaking medical preparations had yet been invented than the smallpox vaccine, which was introduced in Denmark as early as the early 1800’s; to common medical technique belonged vein discharge, just as hospitalization was associated with high risk of infections. It must be assumed that the mortality rate was associated with better diet, greater understanding of hygiene and better living conditions. Midwifery also improved during the period. From around the middle of the 1850’s, an improvement of the sewer systems began when, on the basis of English experience, clarity was gained about the choleracauses. The decline in mortality was temporarily interrupted around 1830 by a violent “cold fever” epidemic (malaria) on Zealand and Lolland. Malaria was epidemic in Denmark up to the beginning of the 1900’s.

The constant and high fertility at the same time as a declining mortality meant increasing population growth. In the 1860’s, population growth was 1.37% per year, the highest ever recorded in Denmark. During this period, emigration from Denmark gained momentum, primarily to the United States, which can be interpreted as a reaction to population pressure. 1869-1914, a total of 285,000 people emigrated from Denmark, of which 255,000 to the United States.

1890-1966.In the first half of the 1900-t. both fertility and mortality decreased, which reduced population growth. The decline in fertility from around 1890 was due to changed conditions for families, especially women, in connection with the development of the industrial society. In the agricultural community there was a tradition of having many children; they were a valuable workforce that was part of the family’s work on the farm. The development of industrial society and wage labor led to a separation of home and workplace, and children could no longer, in the same way, form a natural part of a family work community. This made it more difficult to have many children, both financially and practically. As a result, the average family size was significantly reduced over a number of years, remarkably without access to modern contraceptive methods. Around the year 1900, each woman received an average of approximately 4 children (total fertility), while the number was approximately 1.7 in the mid-1960’s. Large birth cohorts characterized the 1940’s and early 1960’s, while birth rates were particularly low in the 1930’s. A comprehensive improvement in the health status of the population increased the life expectancy of a newborn from 52.9 years for men and 56.2 years for women in the period 1901-05 to 70.3 and 74.5, respectively, in 1961-65.

Development of the population after 1966

After the mid-1900’s. the demographic characteristics of the Danish population have changed very significantly. This is primarily due to fertility development. From 1966 until 1984, total fertility fell from 2.6 to 1.4 children per. woman, and the number of live births, which in 1966 was approximately 88,000, fell to approximately 52,000 in 1984. After 1984, the total fertility has increased again and in 2015 is 1.7 children per. woman, and the number of live births is approximately 58,000. The most recent increase has taken place mainly among the slightly older women in terms of fertility. To ensure against a population decline, the total fertility must be approximately 2.1 children per. woman, provided that net immigration is zero. Since 1969, the fertility level in Denmark has thus not been sufficient to ensure a birth surplus in the long term.

The reasons for the decline in fertility are estimated to be several, but as before are rooted in changed social and economic conditions in society. During the period, women have significantly increased their employment and education frequency, which has made it necessary to pay for predominantly childcare, typically in institutions for young children. It has become more difficult both practically and financially to have many children, and today’s women are generally older when they have children than the women of the 1960’s were. Contributing to making family planning easier has been that in 1973 free abortion was introduced before the 12th week of pregnancy, and that in the 1960’s contraceptives were developed and released. such as the contraceptive pill and the IUD. The number of legal abortions in relation to the birth rate is much higher in Denmark than in the rest of Western Europe; the number fell in the 1990’s from approximately 20,500 legal abortions in 1990 to approximately 15,000 in 2002; it has since remained fairly stable at this level. From 1973, sterilization was also provided for everyone over the age of 25.

The life expectancy of newborns has increased through the period and in 2014-15 was 78.6 years for men and 82.5 years for women. However, the development has been slower than in the countries with which Denmark usually compares. Especially for women, the increase has been slow. There seems to be a clear link between mortality and lifestyle factors, including smoking and drinking habits.

Immigration to and from Denmark has changed in character during the period: The migrations between Denmark and the European countries, which are similar to Denmark socially and economically, have been numerically the largest throughout the period, and between Denmark and these countries the number of immigrants has roughly matched the number of emigrants. On the other hand, there has been an increasing number of immigrants from countries with a completely different background, especially from the former Yugoslavia and Asia, especially from Turkey, Lebanon and Pakistan. Net immigration (the difference between immigration and emigration) has fluctuated sharply during the period, but has been predominantly positive.

On 1 January 2016, 704,000 immigrants and descendants lived in Denmark, corresponding to approximately 12% of the total population. Of these, 226,000 were immigrants from Western countries and 315,000 immigrants from non-Western countries. Furthermore, there were 25,000 descendants from Western countries and 138,000 descendants from non-Western countries.

Age structure

The extensive demographic changes that have taken place in Denmark over the last few hundred years have changed the age structure of the population. Thus, the population was significantly younger in the past. In 1901, 34.3% were under the age of 15, while only 6.6% were aged 65 and over. In 2016, the figures were 16.8% and 18.8%. There are significantly more very old people in Denmark in 2016 than a hundred years ago: in 1901, 0.2% of the population was 85 years and over; in 2016 it is 2.1%. There are 60% more women than men over the age of 80.

Denmark – language

The language is Danish. It is the mother tongue of the vast majority of the population and predominant as a public language. For culture and traditions of Denmark, please check aparentingblog.


Some of the German-minded Danish citizens speak Danish (Southern Jutlandic) at home, even though this minority cultivates German as an identity mirror. approximately 626,000 people, ie. approximately 11.1% of the population (2014), are immigrants from recent decades or descendants of them; their language has, except in a few youth groups, so far had no demonstrable influence on the Danish language.

In the Faroe Islands, according to the Home Rule Act, Danish is officially equated with Faroese, as Faroese is the main language in the Faroe Islands; Danish is a compulsory school subject and the first foreign language. In Greenland, Danish must be able to be used in public affairs, even after Greenlandic was recognized as an official language by the Self-Government Act of 2009. The Icelandic school also teaches Danish, although the language no longer has the status of a first foreign language. Danish is here a means of Nordic contact. In addition, Danish is the mother tongue or cultural language for Danish-minded German citizens in South Schleswig, just as the language is to a certain, very limited extent kept alive by Danish immigrants in America and Australia. Internationally, Danish has been the official language of the EU since 1973.

General language conditions

Within the Indo-European language family, Danish belongs to the North Germanic (Nordic) group together with Icelandic, Faroese, Norwegian and Swedish; the last two languages ​​are to a large extent immediately understandable to Danes. As a written language, Danish is characterized by a very fixed norm, whereas the spoken language exhibits significant pronunciation variations, as only a few speak the actual dialect (see Danish dialects). The vast majority master either the placeless national language or more often a regional and/or social variant thereof; but the national language concept covers constant and clearly generational shifts in pronunciation, which often have their origins in Copenhagen.

The written language

Danish is written with the Latin alphabet, extended with æ and ø and from 1948 with å, which until then was written aa. The letters c, q, w, x and z are only used in certain loan and foreign words, eg check, quiz, weekend, fax. The spelling is predominantly conservative and agrees only partially with contemporary pronunciation. In eg lie, rinse, mouth stands in, y, u for a pronunciation that corresponds to e, ø, å, while the same vowel sign in look, blame, dog is pronounced literally. The compound eg indicates a long vowel plus consonant in eg veg, but the diphthong [ɑi̯] in play, and the same diphthong can also not be writtenas in way. From spellings like hole, pine, read, one cannot see whether the vowel is long or short; this can be done, on the other hand, by hollow, the guy, reader and hole, the guy, loader, where single consonant denotes long vowel and double consonant short. The spellings ld and nd, where d can be mute, always show short vowels such as in hole, ball, wind, gang. However, loanwords are often written according to the pattern of the foreign language, therefore eg cycle, stage, chapter with a single consonant after a short vowel.


Danish is unusually rich in vowels. To the scripture’s 9 vowel letters correspond 16 sounds, eg a stands for three different pronunciations in sal, salt and scissors. In addition, there are several diphthongs, eg [ɑj] as in rent and play, [ɒw] as in forest and parish. Of the consonants only a few are voiced; eg [bdg] is pronounced unvoiced, and the inhibition sounds [ð] and [ɣ] corresponding to d and g are articulated loosely, just as is the case with [ʁ], which is formed with the uvula, but after a vowel is transformed into an å-like vowel sound [ʌ]. Interacting with the typical weak vowel [ə] in inflectional endings such as -er, -ede, -ene, etc., the pronunciation becomes quite instinctive. The special Danish sound impression also includes the shock, an approximate vocal cord closure that occurs in certain word types, eg in single-syllable words such as gap, bird, hand and in the modern form reads, unlike the noun a reader.


In Germanic, two grammatical features are peculiar to the Nordic languages, partly the adhered definite article, eg day-one, year-one, days-ne, years-one, partly the verb form of the verbs, eg felt-es, felt-es. In connection with an adjective in a certain form, the article is a prefixed independent word, the long-e day, the new-e year, the dear-e children.

Nouns are attributed to either common or neuter, one day, one year, and adjectives and pronouns have gender inflection, big, stor-t, someone, something. Numerical inflection is expressed in four ways in nouns, day-e, week-r, month-er, year (with zero ending). The plural is in some words combined with consonant, eg foot – feet, man – men; adjectives and pronouns add in plural -e, big-e, min-e. Nouns have two cases, nominative and genitive, guest-s, guest-is-s, guest-one-s, guest-is-ne-s; seven personal pronouns also have accusative, eg she – her – her-s. Adjectives can be inflected, deep – deeper – deeper – deep-est.

Verbs are inflected in two tenses, present (present tense) and past tense (past tense). The present is formed by the addition of -er or -r, love-er, stand-r. In the past tense a distinction is made between weak and strong inflection. Weak inflection includes two types, beloved, felt. Strong inflection is characterized by zero-ending or -t, most often associated with vowel change (aflyd), eg shoot-er – shot, find-er – fand-t, fall-er – fall-t. The corresponding participles (adjectives) are love-one, feel-t, shot-t, find-one, fall-one. Optative (wishful thinking) has the same form as infinitive (name form), The bride and groom live ! Heck stand in it ! Imperative (verb mode) is equal to the root of the verb, live, stand.

Sentence building

In Danish as well as in Norwegian and Swedish, a main sentence is clearly different from an adverb. In the main sentence, subject, object and certain adverbials can be exchanged freely, But I did not read the newspaper yesterday/But the newspaper I did not read yesterday/But yesterday I did not read the newspaper. On the other hand, the participle’s joint position is fixed with sentence adverbs (here the denial) between subject and verbal, as I did not read the newspaper yesterday.


The Danish language’s vocabulary is in principle unlimited, as new words can be freely formed by composition and derivation, eg long-term planning, interdisciplinary, support, entrepreneur. At some point, long compositions cease to be meaningful, but in the long run, these can be decoded meaningfully. For example, a reserve doctor’s surcharge conversion amount is an amount to be used when converting surcharges for reserve doctors.

The largest Danish dictionaries contain over 200,000 words.

The history of the language

Historically, Danish is a dialect of a common Nordic language, which is known from approximately 200 AD Only towards the year 1200 is the division clear; The many loanwords of the Viking Age in English, law, window, ill, loose, die, take, both, they, etc., are Nordic rather than Danish. Characteristic Danish pronunciation changes in the 1100’s. is the reduction of [a], [i], [u] to [ə] in unstressed syllables, such as throwing, hours, morning of joint Nordic kasta, timi, morgunn referred. Swedish kasta,hour, morning; in addition, the reduction of the inhibition sound [ɣ] in case of lapse or diphthongization as in silence, fly, eye, forest, corresponding to the newly formed closing sound in Swedish tiga, fluga, öga, forest, as well as the conversion of [p], [t], [k] after vowel to [ b], [ð], [ɣ], eg in the rope, without, cake, see. Swedish rep, utan, kaka.

Throughout the ages, Danish recorded thousands of words from foreign languages, especially from the Low German in the Middle Ages, eg war, beautiful, hope, and dissipation elements which confirm, bi-, -really, -bar, -hed, -Inside, -mager, – eri. Examples of words from High German borrowed after the Reformation are rifle, cheerful, strenuous, in vain; from French a significant number of loanwords have been entered into since the 1600’s, eg affair, nervous,genere, partout; words from English are borrowed especially in the 1900’s, eg club, smart, skip, okay. Throughout the period, loanwords are borrowed from Latin and Greek, eg priest, motor, telephone, crisis, immune, senile, vital, writing, impressing, approximately, extra. As can be seen from the examples, the vast majority of foreign constituents have been adapted to the Danish sound and bending system.

The historical shifts in vocabulary are largely caused by external factors such as the Christian mission in the Viking Age, trade with Hanseatic merchants, immigration of North German artisans and noble families in the Middle Ages, the Lutheran Reformation in the 1500’s. and since then broad cultural contact with the modern international prestigious languages, first German and French and from the late 1800’s. predominantly English; and this whole Western European cultural milieu has constantly absorbed vocabulary from the “dead” languages ​​Latin and Greek. Under the same external influences, the development has essentially taken place in parallel in Danish, Norwegian and Swedish.