Denmark’s Discriminatory “Ghetto Package”: Demographic Reports on Nøjsomhed-Sydvej, Helsingor, and Evicted Households
In 2018, the “Ghetto Package” was unveiled by the Danish government as a bundle of legislative proposals affecting housing, education, and criminal justice affecting residents living in majority ethnic-minority areas. It had the stated aim of “eradicating” neighborhoods officially designated as “ghettos”—the determining factor of which is whether a majority of residents are classified as being of “non-Western background”—by 2030. The focus on so-called “ghettoization” has been a part of Danish policy since 2004, despite changing governments. These policies have been criticized by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights for leading to ethnic discrimination.
The “Ghetto Package” has far-reaching consequences. It puts thousands across Denmark living in so-called ghettos at risk of forced eviction, as it requires that “common family housing,” a form of Danish non-profit housing, in “tough ghettos,” be reduced to 40 percent by 2030. One neighborhood where the “Ghetto Package” has had significant indirect consequences is Nøjsomhed-Sydvej, in the city of Helsingor. After receiving the designation of “ghetto” in 2018, the area’s housing association terminated the leases of 96 households, the majority of which were of “non-Western” background.
The discriminatory aspect of these termination notices is highlighted by the findings of two reports by the Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research at Aarhus University released in October 2021. The reports analyze demographic trends in Nøjsomhed-Sydvejand and three comparator areas, as well as the demographics of the 96 households affected by lease terminations. The studies found that among these residents, a disproportionately high number were immigrants and descendants from “non-Western” countries: 66 percent of those evicted were “non-Western,” while “non-Western” individuals only comprised 54.6 percent of the residents of Nøjsomhed-Sydvej.
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