Danes rank highest in the EU in terms of awareness of integration issues, but in fact the results of a recent survey show that their understanding does not reflect reality. Three in four Danes believe that integration is far less successful than facts show. This applies to voters from all Danish parties, but the misunderstandings are greater the further right a voter stands politically, and the older they are. Denmark’s tough policy on refugees and migrants seems to be based on this misguided reality and an exaggerated negative impression.
A combination of question responses from 2 000 Danes and numbers from a state database was used to produce the survey’s findings. The survey was coordinated by online media company Monday Morning, the Danish Knowledge Centre on Integration and two university researchers.
74% of survey respondents were found to believe that progress in integration is significantly worse than it actually is. Only 16% come close to knowing the actual reality, and a further 10% believe that integration is more successful than it is. Further, though crime rates among young men with a non-western background are in fact decreasing, the majority of Danes believe they are rising dramatically. Danes also underestimate how many foreigners are employed, how many are enrolled in education, and how many support gender equality and democracy, and tend to think that the number of non-western immigrants in Denmark is twice as high as it really is.
The majority of persons who themselves are non-western immigrants or their descendants were also found to have an exaggerated negative idea of integration, and when it came to guessing crime rates they were even further from the facts than ethnic Danish respondents.
The huge gap between people’s impressions of reality and reality itself was found to persist regardless of age, gender, education level, geography and political stance. Even a majority of voters from parties with a more friendly attitude towards foreigners (the Danish Social Liberal Party, the Red-Green Alliance and The Alternative) have an exaggerated understanding of the problems that exist in integration, whether in relation to education, crime, gender equality or democracy. However, younger respondents were found to have an understanding somewhat closer to the truth than older respondents, and women were found to have a more negative impression of integration than men. Respondents with a higher, more academic level of education answered the survey questions more correctly than those with a vocational education.
Find a more detailed summary of the survey here.
The survey results can be found online, here.