The Share of Non-Western Men Born in 1987 Convicted According to the Danish Criminal Code

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New figures from Denmark show a very high level of crime committed especially by groups of non-Western men. Approximately 55 percent of men born in 1987 with Syrian, Lebanese, and Somali backgrounds are convicted according to the criminal code.

According to the latest crime figures from Statistics Denmark, the amount of reported violence, rapes, and threats is at a historically high level. Violent crime is among the most serious crimes: Violations of the criminal code.

The better the information that can be obtained about the perpetrators, the better efforts can be made towards preventing crime.

We already know that especially men with non-Western backgrounds are significantly overrepresented in crime statistics. However, the group of non-Western persons cover large differences. How does it look if we examine individual countries across a timespan, e.g. when people become adults and get close to 30 years of age?

Last year’s annual publication from Statistics Denmark on immigration, “Immigrants in Denmark 2017”, contained a report on the share of male non-Western immigrants and descendants born in 1987 who between the ages of 14 and 28 had received at least one conviction according to the Danish criminal code. The result was 37 percent for descendants and 42 percent for immigrants. In comparison, the share was 17 percent for men of Danish origin.

The think tank Unitos asked Statistics Denmark to execute a new report, grouping the figures based on country of origin. Since almost one year has passed since the first report, the new figures have been extended by one year such that convictions until the age of 29 are now counted as part of the results.


Cells in tables in Immigrants in Denmark 2017 by Statistics Denmark are left empty if the data size is less than ten convicted persons. The same filter has been applied to the result above for countries of origin with less than ten convicted persons. For some countries the data size is still quite small, nonetheless the results are mostly consistent across countries in the same region.

Immigrants and descendants have been combined to include as many countries of origin as possible. The difference between immigrants and descendants is small for most non-Western countries of origin except Jordan with 1 in 3 convicted immigrants, while 78 percent of 18 descendants are convicted, and Yugoslavia with 56 percent of immigrants are convicted, while only 28 percent of descendants are convicted. Another remarkable result is that of the 8 people with Ethiopia as country of origin, all 8 are convicted. Ethiopia has been left out of the table above because of the small amount of persons, though it is part of the category of “Other Sub-Saharan African”.

According to Immigrants in Denmark 2017, men born in years after 1987 have a smaller share of persons convicted according to the criminal code. However, this decrease applies to both non-Western groups as well as persons of Danish origin such that the relative difference between the groups does not decrease.

Convictions according to the criminal code can carry fines and up to lifetime in prison. About 95% of convictions relate to violence, property crime, or sexual crime, though the law also covers areas such as gambling, threats, child pornography, indecent exposure, surveillance, slander, and fraud. Narcotics, possession of weapons, as well as minor offenses such as speeding or parking tickets are covered by other laws.

The raw figures delivered by Statistics Denmark can be downloaded in Excel format.

(Updated 7 January 2019 with one additional convicted person of Danish origin according to Statistics Denmark.)