Denmark has 5.6 million inhabitants (1). Of the Danish population 11 % are immigrants and descendants, and almost 7 % have a non-western background (2).
Among citizens in Denmark age is distributed as follows:
- 25 % of the population is 0-19 years old
- 50 % of the population is 20-59 years old
- 25 % of the population is 60+ years old

The general level of education has increased notably in the last 30 years. Today the highest level of education is distributed as follows: 20 % of the 25-64 year olds has a primary and lower secondary school education, while 29 % has a further education (bachelor´s degree, medium or long-term further education or research training) (1;6).

A large part of the Danish population between the ages of 16-64 years participates are in the labor force - 76 % of men and 72 % of women. This also means that about 25 % of citizens of working age are outside the labor market. Most of these are early retirees, recipients of cash assistance and students (1).

Health status

The Danish population lives about 6 years longer today than in the 1970s (3). Today life expectancy at birth of men is 78 years, and of women 81.9 years (4). This is lower than countries that usually are compared to Denmark, e.g. Sweden and Norway (5).
Our lifestyle, including diet, smoking, alcohol and physical activity, has great influence on the mortality and life expectancy of citizens. In Denmark 40 % of all deaths are related to these lifestyle factors (7). Smoking is the most significant risk factor in relation to mortality and life expectancy, and about 25 % of all deaths are related directly to smoking. In Denmark physical inactivity is accountable for about 7 % of all deaths every year (N = 4.500 deaths). Moreover a physical inactive person has a 5 year shorter life expectancy and 7 years of reduced quality of life, compared to a physically active person (7).
28 % of adults in Denmark are physically active in their leisure time at a moderate- to high intensity level minimum four hours pr. week. Physical inactivity is most common among people with a lower educational level and people of working age who are outside the labor market. Also physical inactivity increases with age (8).
16 % are primarily sedentary in their leisure time. The proportion of sedentary citizens is greater among people with lower education, and people of working age outside the labor market (8).
Almost half of the adult population in Denmark (47 %) is overweight (BMI ≥ 25). 13 % of those are obese (8). More men than women are overweight (54 % vs. 39 %), and the proportion increases with increasing age, with an exception of people aged 75 years and above. Moreover overweight is most common among people with a lower educational level and people of working age who are outside the labor market (8). Overweight is among other things a result of a change in the pattern of physical activity in the general population. Today fewer Danes have a physically demanding job than in the 1980s, and more are sedentary at work (40 %). More Danes are though physically active in their leisure time compared to the mid-1980s (8).
The mentioned risk factors together with overweight, contributes to the development of a variety of chronic diseases. In Denmark it is especially the chronic diseases cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes, mental disorders, musculoskeletal disorders and allergies (8). Every third Dane lives with one or more chronic diseases and the risk of having a chronic disease increase with age (8).


(1) Danmarks Statistik. Danmark i tal 2013. 2013.
(2) Danmarks Statistik. Indvandrere i Danmark 2013. 2013.
(3) Danmarks Statistik. Mænds levetid stiger klart mest. 2013. 20-2-2014.
Ref Type: Online Source
(4) Danmarks Statistik. Mindste stigning i levetiden i 6 år. 2014. 20-2-2014.
Ref Type: Online Source (5) OECD. Health at a glance 2013; OECD indicators. 2013.
(5) OECD. Health at a glance 2013; OECD indicators. 2013.
(6) Økonomi- og indenrigsministeriet. ØIMs Kommunale Nøgletal (betaudgaven). 2014. 20-2-2014.
Ref Type: Online Source
(7) Forebyggelseskommissionen. Vi kan leve længere og sundere. Forebyggelsenskommissionens anbefalinger til en styrket forebyggende indsats. 2009.
(8) Sundhedsstyrelsen. Den nationale sundhedsprofil 2010 - Hvordan har du det? 2011.

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