The content is not available in your chosen language, we are displaying it in Danish instead.

Asylum applicants and unaccompanied minors

28.02.22 | Statistics
Whenever the subject of immigration and integration is brought up, what the debate really is about is a particular group of immigrants - asylum applicants. These only constitute a small part of the total number of migrants in the Nordic countries, but nevertheless take up a prominent position in political discourse. This section attempts to provide information about asylum applicants and unaccompanied minors.

An asylum applicant is a person who has submitted an application for international protection or has been included in one as a family member. An unaccompanied minor is an asylum applicant who is under the age of eighteen and arrives without the presence of a legal guardian.

Asylum applications and grants

Looking at the number of asylum applications in the Nordic countries added together, it is clear that there has been significant changes over the last decade. From 2011-15, the numbers increase drastically, but after 2015 the numbers decline to a level which is lower than in the initial period. The number of asylum grants roughly follows that of the applications, although the curve is lagged by 1 year.


Asylum grants

The number of refugees arriving in the Nordic countries peaked in 2016, and slightly earlier in Denmark, where the numbers peak in 2015. After this point, the number of asylum grants each year decreases to a lower level than before the peak in most of the Nordic countries. Iceland is an exception to this pattern with an increasing number of refugees since 2013.


Unaccompanied minors

Echoing developments in the number of asylum applications in general, the number of unaccompanied minors arriving in the Nordic countries also peaked in 2015. Unaccompanied minors account for roughly half of all asylum applications.


Unaccompanied minors by gender

The unaccompanied minors arriving in the Nordic countries are predominantly male.


Unaccompanied minors by age

Most unaccompanied minors are aged 16-17. By far the most are teenagers, but there is still a significant share that are very young, aged 13 or under.

Contact information