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EACEA National Policies Platform


1. Youth Policy Governance

1.6 Evidence-based youth policy

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Political Commitment to Evidence-Based Youth Policy
  2. Cooperation between policy-making and research
  3. National Statistics and available data sources
  4. Budgetary Allocations supporting research in the youth field

Political Commitment to Evidence-Based Youth Policy


In Denmark, there is no national definition of evidence-based youth policy. However, the field of youth policy resembles other public policy areas, which are all informed by data and research.


research project carried out in the Danish Council for Research and Innovation policy from 2014-2016 shows that evidence-based policymaking is a strategic focus area in all of the ministries. It continually gains momentum and practical significance in especially long-term policy-making processes. However, the project also concludes that there is room for improvement, since for instance no ministries have developed a coherent, explicit strategy on how to use research-based evidence in policy development.


Government research institutes

The commitment to evidence-based policy is seen explicitly in the existence of two government research institutes, NFA and SSI, which undertake public sector consultancy for the sector ministries in order to inform political and administrative decisions. It is funded by the ministry concerned.


National Research Centre for the Working Environment (NFA) is a government research institute that conducts research in the area of working environments. Specific research on young people and newly employed people includes:


The National Serum Institute (Statens Serum Institut, SSI) is under the auspices of the

Danish Ministry of Health. The main duty of SSI is to ensure preparedness against

infectious diseases and biological threats as well as the control of congenital disorders.

The research programme Danish National Birth Cohort (Bedre sundhed i generationer) is

one example of research on young people’s health, diet and exercise habits.


Ministerial research units

In addition to the government research institutes, several ministries have established research units close to the top management in the ministries or the agencies. Their internal management strategies refer to knowledge-based solutions, data and evidence, as seen in the following examples:


The Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment (STAR): In its vision statement, STAR describes how its work is embedded in evidence-based knowledge. Furthermore, STAR develops and communicates new knowledge about the labour market, employment measures and social assistance by conducting reviews, projects, analyses, etc. The knowledge strengthens the minister’s and the parliament’s basis for decisions and ensures that policies, rules and measures have the intended effects.

One example of research in the youth policy area is the report on initiatives to move young people from social security to education,   ‘Flere unge fra kontanthjælp tilgår og fastholdes i uddannelse’


The Danish Authority of Social Services and Housing: In its strategy, the board states that it actively contributes to an evidence-based social policy and efficient social measures that make a difference for citizens and society.

The Danish Agency for IT and Learning (STIL): The management in the Agency for IT and Learning works to use knowledge and to develop new solutions based on data. The agency management seeks new knowledge among its stakeholders, both nationally and internationally.


Ministry of Higher Education and ScienceIn the ministry strategy from 2021, the ministry states that it develops solutions based on facts and the newest knowledge, as well as develops and communicates new knowledge.


Research-based consultancy work

In addition to the government research institutes and the research units in the ministries, Danish universities are obliged to conduct research-based public sector consultancy.

This is a consequence of the 2007-reform, which merged government research institutes and universities. It comprises consultancy in the areas of:

  • Counselling in connection with bills and policy formulation
  • Research in a specific field.

The consultancy is laid down in a four-year agreement between the university and the sector ministry. In the agreement, the activities and financing are determined. The universities are obliged to publish the agreements on research-based consultancy on their websites.


Currently, only one agreement on research-based consultancy is related to youth research, which is the agreement between the Ministry of Health and the University of Southern Denmark/the National Institute of Public Health (Statens Institut for Folkesundhed).


The institute conducts research in the following areas related to public health (list not complete):

  • Alcohol and smoking
  • Mental health
  • Health inequalities
  • Chronic disease
  • Physical activity
  • Children and adolescents


Cooperation between policy-making and research

Many different forms of interaction guide the knowledge transfer between the ministries and relevant research environments, including for instance:


  • Collaborative research and research partnerships
  • Academic consulting in councils or standing committees in the ministries
  • Purchase of research via public procurement
  • Conferences and networks

Research-based public sector consultancy by the universities and the two government research institutes mentioned above are examples of institutionalised cooperation.


Furthermore, two research institutions are regulated by law and are relevant for youth research:



The Danish Center for Social Science Research (VIVE) was established on 1 July 2017 following a merger between the Danish National Centre for Social Research (SFI) and the Danish Institute for Local and Regional Government Research (KORA).


VIVE is an independent analysis and research centre working within all major welfare fields. The purpose of VIVE is to contribute to the development of the welfare society by improving the knowledge on the development of the welfare society, the well-being of the population and the structure of the public sector.


Furthermore, VIVE must counsel public authorities and distribute its research to relevant public and private bodies in order to improve the basis for political decisions.


The Danish Evaluation Institute (EVA)

The Danish Evaluation Institute (EVA) is an independent state institution with the objective to develop teaching, learning and education in Denmark. More specifically, EVA is to collect knowledge and to develop and reform methods for evaluations and quality development.


EVA works within the wide field of the Danish educational system and contributes to evaluation and development of:

  • day-care for children
  • primary and secondary school
  • upper secondary school
  • higher educational institutions
  • education programmes for adults

EVA cooperates with the minister of education, other public authorities and education institutions.


Policy themes covered by research

Several sector ministries manage Danish youth policy, and therefore a wide range of themes are included in Danish youth policy: education, labour market entry, socially marginalised children and young people, health and well-being, etc. Because of the sectoral nature of Danish youth policy, it is hard to give a brief overview of commissioned scientific research in youth policy.


Below are examples of commissioned research and evaluations by relevant ministries in 2020:


The Ministry of Children and Education

Primary and lower secondary education:

VET-education programmes

General upper secondary education programmes


Preparatory education/special needs


Social inclusion in education




Ministry of Employment


Ministry for the Interior and Health /Danish Health Authority


Emerging issues

The national Health Profile 2022 established that a large proportion of the Danish population suffer from stress or stress-related illnesses. Young people and especially young women are experiencing problems with mental health, such as stress. Furthermore, the number of young people with depression and anxiety is rising (see chapter 7.1).


In December 2022, the government presented its platform, Responsibility for Denmark (Ansvar for Danmark). Here the government declares that it will set up a children and youth commission. The commission must look into the challenges of increasing mental health issues among young people. The commission should also consider the influence of social media and other causes.


National Statistics and available data sources

Statistics Denmark:

  • collects, processes, and publishes statistical information on social and economic conditions, potentially in collaboration with municipal authorities and other statistical bodies.
  • will supervise or assist in the establishment and utilisation of central public registers that serve to perform administrative duties for the public sector, business and industry and that can be used for statistical purposes and may assist committees and commissions in statistical matters.
  • can prepare statistical analyses and forecasts.

Statistics Denmark provides regular statistics on:


  • Population and elections
  • Labour, income, and wealth
  • Living conditions
  • Education and knowledge
  • Culture and national church

Often it is possible to break down the statistics by age, gender, and geography.


Statistics specifically targeting young people (list not complete):


  • NEET's
  • Socially marginalised children and young people
    • Municipal expenses
    • Academic level
    • Living conditions
  • Election/Turnout
  • Crime
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Debt
  • Use of media and museums

The Ministry of Health and the Danish Health Authority administer a range of health profiles that publish data on young people’s health conditions. See section 7.1.


Other data and analysis

Sector ministries collect their own data and statistics. The sector ministries use the data to analyse and evaluate measures and to report on specific targets set by the ministers or the government.


The Ministry of Higher Education and Science

Data from higher educations are collected in the ministry’s data warehouse. The following data is available (list not complete):


  • Applications and intake
  • EducationZoom (digital tool that compares educations in a range of parameters. (See section 3.4)
  • Student influx, duration of study, completion of study
  • Drop-out rate and change of study
  • State education grant
  • EU citizens with state education grant
  • International mobility
  • continuing and further education and training

Each year the Higher Education and Science Report is published with analyses, data and statistics from the ministry.


The Ministry of Children and Education

The Ministry of Children and Education has several statistical databases, for instance:


The Data Warehouse (Datavarehuset): The Data Warehouse contains data from primary and lower secondary education (folkeskole), general upper secondary, and VET programmes. Institutions, ministries, regions, municipalities, and the public have access to the database.



The Youth Database: The Youth Database is an administrative tool for youth guidance centres (UU) and job centres. The database registers the activities in education and employment of young people in the 15-24-year age group.


Furthermore, the database provides statistics on young people in the 15-29-year age group to the Ministry of Employment.


The Ministry of Social Affairs, Housing and Senior Citizens

The Danish Authority of Social Services and Housing administers a range of databases (list not complete):


  • The Social Offer Portal (Tilbudsportalen): A portal with all the regional, municipal, and private social offers/measures
  • Professional Quality Information (Faglige kvalitetsoplysninger): collects data on different aspects of public day-care institutions
  • Parent Management Training: collects data on treatment in the parent training programme
  • The Data Bank is a collection of statistics from reporting in the social area.

The annual Social Policy Report contains statistical data and analysis on measures, effects, costs etc. in the social area.


English short version of the social policy report

Socialpolitisk redegørelse 2020 (social policy report)

The Ministry of Employment

Employment Effort ( is a public data bank with key performance indicators in labour market policies. includes statistical measurements of central labour market measures and benefits to citizens. These include:


  • Unemployment benefits (dagpenge)
  • Social benefits
  • Early retirement pensions and early pensions
  • General employment indicators:
    • Employment per se
    • Unemployment indicators
  • Foreign labour working in Denmark
  • The minister’s annual goals for active labour market policy
  • Monitoring systems

The statistics published by also include key indicators of recent labour market reforms, the disability pension reform, the flexi-job scheme, and the cash benefit (kontanthjælp) reform.

Furthermore, the Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment (STAR) provides statistics on early retirement benefit, absenteeism, and the unemployment insurance funds (a-kasser).


The Ministry of the Interior and Health

Authorities under the Ministry publish a range of statistical data:


The National Institute of Public Health (Statens Institut for Folkesundhed) is responsible for the following surveys:


  • the National Health Profile Database
  • the National Representative Health and Morbidity Surveys (SUSY)
  • the School Children’s Survey (HBSC)
  • the Population Survey in Greenland

Moreover, the National Institute of Public Health has conducted other individual surveys, e.g. among secondary and vocational school students (Youth Profile 2014), in specific population groups, e.g. among socially vulnerable people (SUSY‑udsat), and among people with a heart disease.


Budgetary Allocations supporting research in the youth field

There is no specific line of funding for research in the youth field.

The monitoring and evaluation of policy reforms are part of the ministerial budgets.