Key facts: Denmark

by Meyer Sosland
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Capital: Copenhagen

Population: 5,484,723 (July 2008 est.)

Religions: Evangelical Lutheran 95%, other Christian (includes Protestant and Roman Catholic) 3%, Muslim 2%.

Location: Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, on a peninsula north of Germany (Jutland); also includes two major islands (Sjaelland and Fyn).

Government: Constitutional monarchy; chief of state: Queen Margrethe II (since Jan. 14, 1972); head of government: Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen (since Nov. 27, 2001).

Economy: The Danish economy has in recent years undergone strong expansion, fueled primarily by private consumption growth but also supported by exports and investments. This thoroughly modern market economy features high-tech agriculture, up-to-date, small-scale and corporate industry, extensive government welfare measures, comfortable living standards, a stable currency, and high dependence on foreign trade. Unemployment is low and capacity constraints are limiting growth potential. Denmark is a net exporter of food and energy and enjoys a comfortable balance of payments surplus. Government objectives include streamlining the bureaucracy and further privatization of state assets. The government has been successful in meeting, and even exceeding, the economic convergence criteria for participating in the third phase (a common European currency) of the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). But so far Denmark has decided not to join 15 other E.U. members in the euro. Nonetheless, the Danish krone remains pegged to the euro. Economic growth gained momentum in 2004 and the upturn continued through 2007. The controversy over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad printed in a Danish newspaper in September 2005 led to boycotts of some Danish exports to the Muslim world, especially exports of dairy products, but the boycotts did not have a significant impact on the overall Danish economy. Because of high GDP per capita, welfare benefits, a low Gini index, and political stability, the Danish living standards are among the highest in the world. A major long-term issue will be the sharp decline in the ratio of workers to retirees.

GDP per capita: $37,200 (2007 est.); Inflation: 1.7% (2007 est.); unemployment 2.8% (2007 est.).

Currency: Danish krone (DKK); 5.6 Danish kroner (DKK) equals 1 U.S. dollar (Jan. 16, 2009).

Exports: $101.2 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.): machinery and instruments, meat and meat products, dairy products, fish, pharmaceuticals, furniture and windmills.

Imports: $102 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.): machinery and equipment, raw materials and semi-manufactures for industry, chemicals, grain and foodstuffs, consumer goods.

Major crops/agricultural products: Barley, wheat, potatoes, sugar beets; pork, dairy products, fish.

Agriculture: 1.3% of GDP and 3% of the labor force.

Internet: Code. .dk; 3.642 million (2008) hosts and 3.5 million (2007) users.