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Table 1 Main terms and categories used to report on the non-native population in the official statistics of Denmark and Sweden

From: Using population registers for migration and integration research: examples from Denmark and Sweden

Main terms and definitions
  Denmark Sweden Notes
Main terms Immigrant Descendant Danish origin Foreign-born Swedish background Foreign background Categories not comparable; see below and Tables 2 and 3
Definition of main terms: • Immigrant: ‘A person born abroad whose parents (or one of them if there is no available information on the other parent) are both foreign citizens or were born abroad. If there is no information available on either of the parents and the person was born abroad, the person is also defined as an immigrant’ (Statistics Denmark, 2017). • Descendant: ‘A person born in Denmark whose parents (or one of them if there is no information available on the other parent) are either immigrants or descendants with foreign citizenship. If there is no information available on either of the parents and the person in question is a foreign citizen, the person is also defined as a descendant’ (Statistics Denmark, 2017). • Person of Danish origin: ‘A person – regardless of place of birth – who has at least one parent who is a Danish citizen and was born in Denmark’ (Statistics Denmark, 2017). No official definitions Individuals born outside Sweden are reported as foreign-born (N1). Children of immigrants born in Sweden are depicted as having a foreign or a Swedish background depending on the country of birth of the parents (N2). Individuals with a Swedish background who were born in Sweden or foreign-born individuals with two or one Sweden-born parents. Individuals with a foreign background who were either born in Sweden or are foreign-born and have two foreign-born parents. Foreign background is also used when Statistics Sweden publishes information on families and households. In official statistics published by Statistics Sweden, the terms ‘immigrant’ and ‘descendant’ are not used; consequently no definitions similar to those used in Denmark are provided.
Categories on which statistical information is reported:
 Geographical area of origin By country of origin (N3); continent; Western/non-Western (N4) By country of origin; continent  
 Citizenship Citizenship Citizenship  
 Admission category Admission category/residence permit (family reunification, work, education, au pair, interns, other, asylum) admission category (refugee, family reunion, labour market, education, adoption, other)  
 Time • Time in Sweden is based on the date of national registration, with a reduction for time spent outside Sweden. • Time since last immigration is based on the last time an individual was registered in Sweden.  
 Other Age, gender and Danish residential area Age, gender and Swedish residential area  
Additional information:
 Naturalization Naturalization Naturalization  
 Categories not reported Undocumented; illegal Undocumented; illegal  
 Asylum-seekers Reported separately in the Aliens’ Register Reported separately in the Asylum-seekers’ Register Asylum-seekers count as immigrants when recognized as refugees (N5), which results in them receiving a residence permit, a personal identification number and registration in the regular population registers.
  1. Source: The authors
  2. N1: Foreign-born are divided by the duration of stay in two categories: individuals who have been in Sweden for less than five years or more than five years
  3. N2: Children of foreigners are reported in three groups: born to two foreign-born parents, born to one parent born in Sweden and one foreign-born parent, and born to two Sweden-born parents
  4. N3: Statistics Denmark (2017) uses the following criteria: ‘1) When no parents are known, the country of origin is defined from the person’s own information. If the person is an immigrant, it is assumed that the country of origin is equal to the country of birth. If the person is a descendant, it is assumed that the country of origin is equal to the country of citizenship. 2) When only one parent is known, the country of origin is defined as the country of birth of the parent. If this is Denmark, the country of citizenship is used. 3) When both parents are known, the country of origin is defined as the country of birth of the mother, respectively country of citizenship’
  5. N4: Western countries include all the 28 EU countries, plus Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, the Vatican State, Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand. Non-Western countries are all other countries (Statistics Denmark, 2017)
  6. N5: A refugee is a person who, in fear for his/her life, finds him-or herself on the territory of another state than his/her own, and avails himself/herself of the protection of that state. An asylum-seeker is a refugee who officially lodges a claim for protection with the authorities of the state on whose territory he/she finds himself/herself. If a claim is accepted, the state extends one of several forms of protection (Under the 1951 Convention, humanitarian, temporary, etc), i.e the asylum-seeker receives a recognised refugee status