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Country Profile of Denmark

Main statistical agency
Main statistical agency name
Statistics Denmark
Web address
Position in the government
Statistics Denmark reports to the Minister of Economic and Internal Affairs. However, Statistics Denmark is an independent institution according to section 2 of the Act on Statistics Denmark. The independence implies that the Board of Statistics Denmark and the National Statistician (Director General) make decisions on the production and dissemination of statistics within the frameworks of national and international legislation.

Statistics Denmark is the central authority for Danish statistics, cf. section 1 of the Act on Statistics Denmark and article 5 of EU’s Statistical Law. This implies, among other things, that the greater part of Danish statistics on social and economic trends is produced by Statistics Denmark and that Statistics Denmark is responsible for coordinating Danish activities related to the development, production and dissemination of European statistics.
Organizational structure and finance
The leadership of Statistics Denmark is divided among the Board of Governors of Statistics Denmark, the Minister for Economic and Internal Affairs, and the National Statistician (Director General). The Board of Governors consists of seven persons with the National Statistician as chairperson; the other six members are designated by the Minister and must, according to the Act on Statistics Denmark, have insight into social and economic conditions. The Board of Governors prioritises work tasks and approves the budget. The Board of Governors also appoints advisory committees. The Minister has parliamentary responsibility, including responsibility for the Finance Act appropriation. The National Statistician is the professional and administrative manager of Statistics Denmark.

Statistics Denmark is organised into five departments with 23 divisions altogether. Three of the five departments produce statistics according to the division described below. Besides there is a Department for Sales and Marketing and a Department for User Services. Additionally, there is a Management office responsible for, among other things, the international co-operation. The National Statistician, the Head of the management office, and the departmental directors constitute the management.

Statistics Denmark organises the statistical production into three main areas: social statistics, business statistics, and economic statistics.

• Social statistics take the people of Denmark as a starting point: The composition and education of the population, the labour market, social conditions, income and criminality.

• Business statistics deal with production, the economy and business trends. In recent years, increased statistical attention has been focused on the service sector and the information society.

• Economic statistics describe the general economic conditions in society and provide information on short-term trends. This includes statistics on national accounts, government finances, external trade and prices and consumption.

Although, the production of statistics is divided into three distinct areas, Statistics Denmark stress cross-disciplinary co-operation – including tailor-made services for external customers.

The organisation and the number of divisions are modified on a continuing basis. In recent years, we have moved towards a more specialised division of labour by establishing a new division, Survey and Methods, and a new department, Sales and Marketing. The goals of the new, partially functional, division is to focus more on two important areas of our work: We are creating optimal conditions for businesses that must use time to supply us with data, and we want to increase our income by professionalising the handling of customers.

We exist for our users, and our organisational plan emphasises this. In addition to IT and administration, the User Services Department includes a number of outward-oriented functions: library, information and dissemination. The Sales and Marketing Department takes care of certain important users – customers, researchers, and international consulting. Our user surveys show increasing use of our data and services by ordinary citizens, governmental authorities, the media, business and researchers. They also show that the users are predominantly satisfied. The vision of Statistics Denmark is to be one of Europe’s most user-friendly statistical institutions and the institution integrating official statistics on social and economic conditions in Denmark. Read more about initiatives taken to improve user-friendliness in “STRATEGY 2015”.

Statistics Denmark is an efficient institution and places much stock in being recognised as such. We must use our resources effectively; we must be as competitive as possible with respect to the user-charged service activities; and we must continually try to reduce our publication time. An internal time registration system ensures that we can measure costs more precisely with respect to individual statistics and services.

The 2012 budget for Statistics Denmark is DKK 391,8 million (approx. EUR 52 million). The Finance Act appropriates a financial framework of approximately 70 per cent of the budget; the rest of the budget approximately 30 per cent, is financed by our own income. The Finance Act appropriation forms the basic framework for the on-going production of statistics. Every year, this appropriation is reduced by an amount corresponding to demands for improving productivity.

In relation to other official statistics agencies in the EU, a large share of Statistics Denmark’s budget is financed from our own income. This income includes subsidies from the EU and Danish ministries to prepare and publish specific statistics and the sale of statistical publications. For a fee, we also undertake extensive work to compile and process statistical information for private and public customers.

The number of our employees, measured in man-years, has fallen from 608 in 2000 to 534 at the beginning of 2012. Excluding management positions, the share of academic staff has risen from 30 per cent in 2002 to around 45 per cent in 2012, corresponding to a decline in office personnel from 42 per cent to around 30 per cent. IT staff members make up around 11 per cent of the employees. 46 per cent of or our employees are women.

Our increased focus on mobility and international co-operation ensures that we get an appropriate infusion of new blood. As colleagues, we feel part of a larger community with a very active staff association and a variety of tradition steeped social events.

We have an extensive internal education programme, utilising internal and external instructors, in which each professional group must complete a compulsory course of education. There are also excellent opportunities for continuing education outside the programme.

In “STRATEGY 2015” you can read more about Statistics Denmark’s vision to be an attractive workplace, which is able to recruit and maintain well qualified employees and managers.

Multi-annual or annual work program
Every year Statistics Denmark publishes an annual work programme which gives an overview of work and planned new activities for the forthcoming year, agreed upon by the Board of Governors. Annual work programmes are prepared within the framework of the multi-annual work programme (corporate strategy), which contains goals five years ahead. Annual work programmes and the corporate strategy are published on paper and web.
The current Multi-annual programme is called “STRATEGY 2015” and is available on this site. “STRATEGY 2015” lays out the following 8 areas for action towards 2015: 1) Involvement of users; 2) Reductions in the response burden; 3) Development of statistics; 4) Reliable and timely statistics; 5) Dissemination of statistics; 6) User charges, 7) Employees and managers, 8) Work processes and IT support. Read more about each of the actions areas in “STRATEGY 2015”.
Main duties
The main duties of Statistics Denmark are set out in the Act on Statistics Denmark and can be summarized as the following three main tasks:

1) The first task is to collect, process, and publish statistical information on social and economic conditions. This may be carried out in cooperation with other producers of statistics. Furthermore, statistical analyses and forecasts may be prepared. The institution may also assist committees and commissions in statistical matters.

2) The second task is to contribute to the international statistical cooperation. As a member of the EU, Denmark enters into a legally binding statistical cooperation. In this context, Statistics Denmark is responsible for coordinating all Danish contributions of data to the European Statistics. Statistics Denmark is also actively involved in the statistical activities in the UN, OECD, IMF and in the Nordic countries.

3) The third task is to carry out statistical tasks for private and public customers for a charge. These tasks are conducted in accordance with the Government’s rules for user charges.

Brief history and other relevant background information
Brief history and other relevant background information
In January 1850 Denmark’s statistical institution was founded under the name the Statistical Bureau. The activities of the Bureau were initiated following the adoption of Denmark’s Constitutional Act in 1849. In 1966 the Danish Parliament adopted the Act on Statistics Denmark. The Act was completely new and defined the independent status of the institution. The name was changed to Statistics Denmark and the title of the head was changed from Permanent Secretary to National Statistician. Today, the activities of Statistics Denmark are carried out in accordance with this Act, as subsequently amended, and the European Parliament and Council Regulation on European Statistics from 2009, called EU’s Statistical Law.

The mission of Statistics Denmark is to produce impartial statistics on society as the basis for democracy and the national economy. Statistics Denmark’s vision is to be: 1) one of Europe’s most user-friendly and data supplier-friendly statistical institutions; 2) an effective and innovative institution solving tasks digitally; 3) the institution integrating the official statistics on all social and economic conditions; 4) an attractive workplace.

The production and dissemination of our statistics are in compliance with the UN’s ten fundamental principles for official statistics as well as with the 15 principles that make up the European Statistics Code of Practice and is included in EU’s Statistical Law. Statistics must be versatile and be compiled on a methodologically sound and non-partisan basis. No-one has access to our releases before anyone else, and all information concerning individuals and businesses is treated with confidentiality.

We focus on maintaining a high quality at an international level, and comparisons and benchmarks demonstrate that we have succeeded. Read more about the initiatives taken to improve reliability and timeliness of statistical data in Statistics Denmark’s “STRATEGY 2015”.

Statistics Denmark actively participates in European statistical co-operation and a number of other international statistical fora. We collaborate on a great many projects with statistics agencies both in the Nordic countries and throughout the world, and we are active in international consulting.

• EU: As a member of the European Union, Denmark is bound by approximately 200 legislative acts, whose purpose is to ensure uniform statistics among the member nations. These statistics provide a vital source of information for planning, monitoring and assessing a number of EU policies. EU legislation regulates approximately 70 percent of our statistical production based on Finance Act appropriations, and there is an increasing demand for timely, more detailed and new EU statistics. EU co-operation takes place in a comprehensive network of task forces, work groups and committees, with the European Statistical System Committee as the focal point.

• NORDIC COUNTRIES: The Nordic countries collaborate closely on statistics. Beyond an exchange of experiences at the annual meetings of Nordic Directors General, projects are implemented across national boundaries, including the development of tools for statistical databanks. Much of the exchange of experience in the Nordic countries takes place in network groups. As a result of this Nordic co-operation, the Nordic Statistical Yearbook is published each year.

• UN: Statistics Denmark works with the UN to encourage the harmonisation of statistics and international division of labour for the development of statistics. Statistics Denmark also participates in international statistical cooperation through organisations such as the OECD, the IMF and the ILO.

• CONSULTATION: Since the beginning of the 1990s, Statistics Denmark has provided consulting services to other national statistics agencies, particularly in Mozambique, Uganda, Egypt, the Baltics, the Balkans and Central and Eastern Europe. The projects have been primarily financed by contributions from Denmark and the EU. Read more about Statistics Denmark’s international statistical cooperation in Statistics Denmark’s “STRATEGY 2015”, Appendix 4. Our activities in International consulting are described at our website at:

Legal basis
Legal basis
Act on Statistics Denmark, Act No. 599 of June 22.

The Act on Statistics Denmark ensures that we are a professionally independent, autonomous institution, run by a Board of Governors. Pursuant to the act, Statistics Denmark is to gather, process and make public statistical information about social and economic trends in society. Moreover, we are to participate in international statistical co-operation and undertake commissioned projects for private and public customers for a fee.

Other producers of official statistics
Other producers of official statistics
In accordance with the European Parliament and Council Regulation (EC) No. 223/2009, section 1 of article 5, Statistics Denmark coordinates national activities for development, production and dissemination of European statistics and operates as the contact point for the Commission (Eurostat) in statistical matters.
In addition to Statistics Denmark, the following Danish authorities currently produce European statistics:

• Ministry of Employment
National Board of Industrial Injuries: Industrial diseases, work-induced disorders
Danish Working Environment Authority: Industrial injuries

• Ministry of Climate, Energy and Building
Danish Energy Agency: Energy supply

• Danish Ministry of the Environment
Danish Environmental Protection Agency: Waste and pesticides
Danish Nature Agency: Raw wood

• Ministry of Justice
Danish Immigration Service: Areas of foreigners’ affairs

• Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries
Danish AgriFIsh Agency: Catch, fishery landings and aquaculture; Poultry and eggs

• Ministry of Health and Prevention
Danish Health and Medicines Authority: Causes of death, hospitals, and health care staff

• Ministry of Transport
Danish Transport Authority: Aviation

• Ministry of Children and Education
UNI-C - Danish IT Centre for Education and Research: Areas of educational affairs

• Ministry of Business and Growth
Danish Financial Supervisory Authority: Credit, pension and insurance institutes
Danish Patent and Trademark Office: Patents and trademarks

• University of Southern Denmark
National Institute of Public Health: Health Interview Surveys

Furthermore, the Central Bank of Denmark produces a number of financial statistics within the frameworks of the European System of Central Banks.

Statistical advisory bodies
Statistical advisory bodies
Statistics Denmark is governed by a Board consisting of the National Statistician as Chairman and six other members with insight into social and economic conditions. The Board establishes its own order of business and has decided to appoint a Deputy Chairman among its members. Within the framework allowed by legislation and the available resources, the Board makes decisions on: Statistics Denmark’s annual work program which prioritises the tasks that are to be carried out; the extent of and the manner in which information is to be collected from the business community; which information is to be reported by public authorities and institutions to Statistics Denmark; guidelines for coordinating the collection and processing of statistics between Statistics Denmark and other public and private producers of statistics; assigning tasks to Denmark’s central bank concerning financial statistics; Statistics Denmark’s budget, including issues of greater financial importance; and setting up advisory committees.

Data collection
Most recent population census
1 January 2012
Access to administrative data
In accordance with section 6 of the Act on Statistics Denmark "public authorities and institutions shall supply information as they possess when called upon to do so by Statistics Denmark". Thus Statistics Denmark has full access to all administrative registers.

Most of the data we use derives, by far, from information supplied by the administrative registers of governmental agencies. Denmark began early to use registers for statistical purposes and has continued to be an international innovator in this area. The uniform registration of inhabitants in the Central Population Register and businesses with their affiliated production units in the Central Business Register is a prerequisite for this use.

Register-based statistics give us clear advantages both with respect to resource consumption and opportunities for cross-disciplinary analysis. Register-based labour force statistics link labour market information with demographic and social data; while the Register of Building and Dwelling Statistics couples geographic and demographic data with, for example, information on income, social services, and education. The use of public registers helps further to limit burdens on data suppliers.

Read more about register based statistics in “Register based statistics in the Nordic countries. Review of best practices with focus on population and social statistics”, UNECE (2007).

We get additional data for our social statistics through telephone interviews. This is true, among other things, for our on-going labour force survey, which has been expanded to around 22,000 interviews quarterly. Our Interview Service contributes to our own surveys and sell services to external costumers.

In addition to data from public registers, information is supplied by for example labour market organisations that already gather information from members. We also collect data through sample surveys, in special cases, a census of an entire sector.

It is a central goal for Statistics Denmark to collect adequate and accurate statistical information with the least possible burden on businesses. Around 99 per cent of the reporting duties that Statistics Denmark imposes on businesses are related to EU legislation. The overall cost of the response burden has been calculated at DKK120 million (approx. EUR 16 million). We are continually working within the given parameters to optimise and reduce the size of sample surveys. We have also limited the maximum number of statistics, to which small businesses must report, to three a year. Read more about Statistics Denmark’s initiatives to reduce the burden on respondents in “STRATEGY 2015” and in the paper “Efforts made by Statistics Denmark to reduce the response burden”.
Data confidentiality
We treat information about individuals and businesses confidentially. Upon their employment, all our staff members sign a statement acknowledging a duty of confidentiality. Individuals and businesses remain anonymous in the statistics we make public. However, from democratic concerns, governmental authorities have no right to anonymity. We do not disclose confidential information for administrative purposes.

Beyond the general provisions of the Danish Public Administration Act and the Danish Penal Code, we conduct our work pursuant to the act on processing of Personal Data. The Danish Data Protection Agency monitors that we obey the law. In special instances, the Data Protection Agency may allow us to disclose information to another party – for example, in the case of a collaboration to produce statistics. The Data Protection Agency may also grant permission for us to exchange confidential information with another national statistics institution as a part of a collaboration.

Statistics Denmark implements strict security measures to protect our statistical registers from misuse. We ensure that no-one unauthorised gains access to sensitive information about people and businesses and that the information is used exclusively for statistical purposes.

Data dissemination
Release calendar (existence, when and how published)
All new statistics are made available in Statbank Denmark, which is updated at 9.00 a.m. The pdf newsletter “NEWS FROM STATISTICS DENMARK” (in Danish only) is released at the same time and contains a great many of the general numbers quoted by the press daily. For English speaking users, the main webpage gives a daily overview of the results of the latest releases – known as “FOCUS ON”, which is a readily and automatically created version of the Danish newsletter without most of the text.

We set our publication dates for the best possible timeliness. Our average publication time is one month for monthly statistics, two months for quarterly statistics, and seven months for annual statistics. Over the years, we have reduced publication time, and we continue to work on increasing the timeliness of statistics – without compromising quality. We announce the day or week of publishing for the releases of all statistics one year in advance, and no outsider has access to our statistics before they are made public.
Main publications
There is free access to almost all our statistics at, Statbank Denmark is a part of the website. We also publish yearbooks, newsletters, periodicals and theme publications – many of them in pdf formats for online use only.

Statistics Denmark has a long publishing tradition. The classic “STATISTICAL YEARBOOK” was published for the first time in 1896 and provided, then as now, a comprehensive overview of Danish society in all statistical areas. There is free access to the Danish and English versions of the Yearbook on the Internet. “STATISTICAL TEN-YEAR REVIEW” (In Danish only) has been published every year since 1959, showing developments in time series. We also publish analyses and reports on a regular basis – some of them in English and the remaining ones, in many cases, include summaries in English. Our theme publications may focus on children, education, tourism, the environment, the effects of globalisation and more.
Languages of main publications
Danish and English
How are data disseminated (Paper, CD Rom, Website, online databases, databanks)?
Our view is that, if our statistics are not used, our efforts are wasted. Statistics exist for democracy and the national economy. In order for Danish society and the international community to benefit from this vast amount of statistical knowledge, we make it available in a wide variety of forms in both Danish and English.

StatBank Denmark contains several billion figures. They are presented in several thousand tables and describe most aspects of Danish society. By comparison internationally, StatBank Denmark is a very user-friendly data bank, and users
extract more than 150,000 tables a month. It is easy to extract tables in the form of graphics or maps, and a huge quantity of numbers may be downloaded and saved in spreadsheets and other formats, including a free PC-Axis program. The statistical databank has a complete parallel version in English, which can be found at:

All our statistics have an affiliated declaration of content, offering a comprehensive description of the sources and methods used. The declarations describe quality and content and are also presented in English. For each statistic we provide information about purpose, historicity, accuracy, reference period, publication date, and comparability over time. We also provide a contact person. Declarations of content are available at:

Statistics Denmark Library is open to the public. As the principal library for descriptive statistics on Denmark, it contains not only the largest collection of statistics in Denmark, but also a broad array of statistical publications from countries all over the world and from international organisations.

In recent years, we have professionalized our media relations. Through our detailed press database, we have a unique overview of the increasing coverage individual publications receive. Our employees attend communication and press courses. Contact with journalists is decentralised, and a colleague who usually works with a particular set of statistics is also typically the person to make any statements about it.”NEWS FROM STATISTICS DENMARK” is the result of a dialogue between statistics and communication staff members and is geared to make it easy for the press to use. The press also frequently cites background articles form our online magazine, “NETMAGASINET BAG TALLENE” (in Danish only). We also systematically monitor weblogs. We actively correct any misundrestandings or misuse of our statistics in the various media.
Availability of microdata for research purposes
Authorised research environments and analysis institutes may be given access to microdata. Access is always given on a need-to-know-basis to non-identifiable microdata in accordance with Statistics Denmark’s special external researcher’s scheme. We grant such authorisation pursuant to a concrete assessment, and the authorised researchers have the same duty of confidentiality as Statistics Denmark staff members. For educational use, we supply non-confidential, sample survey-based datasets that are constructed in such a way that it is not possible to identify persons or businesses.

We are constantly working to strengthen Danish register-based research by giving researchers access to tailor-made sets of data compiled from various registers at Statistics Denmark. We have developed special research databases such as the Fertility Database, the Pharmaceutical Database, and the Integrated Database for Labour Market Research. The Research Services of Statistics Denmark provide consulting services free of charge in connection with new research projects. Researchers and businesses may also request interview-based surveys.

Read more about access to microdata for research purposes in the working paper “New developments in the Danish system for access to micro data”, UNECE/Eurostat (2005).

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