Refugees, rape and the data

Thomas Baekdal
I blame the Squirrel
9 min readJan 16, 2016


If you have been reading the news in Europe, you will have seen the many stories about how many women were sexually molested by large groups of foreign looking men.

Since then we have seen many articles about how Muslim men are violating women, which has now caused us to reach a point where women are afraid of walking home at night, with some right-wing political parties trying to capitalize on it.

This is quite ridiculous, because not only are you safer today than ever in the past, but also because religion and culture don’t have that much of an impact as the media is telling you.

I ran the numbers to illustrate this, and the result is what you see below. We are going to look at two countries. The USA and Denmark.

Before I start, though, I just want to make it completely clear that rape or other sexual crimes are terrible and should never happen. Even if only one person had been raped, that is still one too many.

I’m not defending rape here, or the people who do it. Rape is always terrible and can never be excused or defended!

The point of this article is to fix the problem of the misinformed public, and to alleviate the irrational fear that we see in Europe at the moment.

There is no reason for the Government, for instance, to provide pepper sprays to women, as one Danish political party has suggested. That is purely a populistic statement designed to win votes from a misinformed public, and it’s pure bigotry. It’s the same as when Donald Trump said that all Mexican immigrants are rapists.


Our world is getting safer

The first thing to realize is that crime overall is in decline, and rape crime very much so. To illustrate this, we will start by looking at the US (you will see why in a moment), and then move on to Europe (specifically Denmark).

If we look a the number of rapes in the US over time, we see this:

Source: FBI

In 1994, 102,219 people were raped, while, in 2013 (the latest official numbers), that number had dropped to 79,779 people. These two numbers, however, don’t take the changes in population into account. In 1994, there were only about 263 million people living in the US, while, in 2013, there were 316 million people.

When we account for this, we get the above graph. And what we see is that, over the past 20 years, the risk of getting raped has dropped by about 35%.

Rape is still terrible. I’m not trying to defend it here. But there is absolutely no reason to feel less safe today.

It’s the same with most other crime stats. Our world is getting safer.

But, of course, it’s not just about the number of rapes. It’s also about who is doing it and why. So, again if we look at the US, we see that the population is divided up into these groups.

Source: US Census Bureau

Thus, statistically speaking, 81% of the rapes should be committed by whites (which includes Hispanics), 14% by blacks, and 6% by Asians. So, is that the case?

Well, no.

As many people know, black people have long been overrepresented in the statistics. In fact, when we run the numbers, we see this:

Source: FBI

As you can see, black people account for 33% of all rapes, while Asians only account for 1%. White people, of course, still dominate because they are the biggest group.

We have seen this before, but the question is why? Why are black people overrepresented here (and not just for rape stats)?

Is it because they are black? No, of course not. Don’t be silly.

It obviously has to do with other factors, like education, income level, social standing and general standards of living. We all know this.

If you compare two groups of people (of any color, race or culture), you will almost always find that the group who has the lowest standard of living is also the group who commits the most amount of crime. This is true not just in the US, but in every western country (and most non-western too).

Living standards define the level of crime.

And for the US, we can look at income levels and see this:

As you can see, Asians have the highest standards of living, and are thus committing the fewest rapes proportionally. Black people, on the other hand, have the lowest standards of living, and are thus proportionally overrepresented in the rape statistics.

This also tells us a lot about how to fix this. If you want to decrease the rate of rape by black people in the US, the most effective way is to increase their standards of living.


So, what does this have to do with the current situation in Europe? Well, let’s look at the numbers.

In Denmark, where I live, the number of rapes have also gone down by about 30%. There is no reason to feel more afraid today than before.

And, again, we can do the same exercise as before.

If we first look at the population, divided up between people with Danish origins and people with immigrant origins (aka immigrants and 2nd generation immigrants), we find that 12% of the Danish population have foreign origins.

Source: Dansk Statistik

This is a very low number compared to many other places in the world, and one of the reasons why we see so much ethnic hatred in Denmark.

If we then look at the rape statistics, we find that there were 365 cases of rape over the past year (one each day, on average), which is not that many. In comparison, the risk of getting raped in the US is four times that of Denmark.

Denmark is an incredibly safe country to live in. But, of course, 365 rape cases are still 365 too many.

When we then look at who are committing these rapes, we find this:

Source: Dansk Statistik

Again, people with immigrant origins are overrepresented in the statistics. They account for 12% of the population but commit 19% of the rapes. Of course, people with Danish origins still account for 81% of the rapes overall.

In absolute numbers, this means that 68 rapes were committed by immigrants or their descendants while Danish people committed 287 rapes.

But, wait a minute, we have seen this before. This looks exactly like what we see in the US. And in the US, we know that it isn’t caused by the color of the skin but because of their living standards.

Maybe it’s the same in Denmark? Maybe the reason why immigrants are overrepresented is because they have lower living standards, which is certainly the case when we look at it statistically.

But, there is one more factor at play here, which we see very clearly when we look at it in even more detail.

To do this, we can look at where the immigrants are from, and whether they are first generation or second generation immigrants.

Source: Dansk Statistik

This is fascinating, because what we see here is that there is a huge difference in crime between first generation and second generation immigrants.

For western immigrants (people immigrating to Denmark from other European countries or North America), the crime rates of the first generation immigrants are very low.

This shouldn’t really come as a surprise to you, considering that these immigrants are like the Asians in the US. They generally have a high standard of living.

More income, better education, not to mention that they chose to come to Denmark means very little crime.

However, Their kids, having been born in Denmark, have the same crime rates as the native Danish population.

First generation immigrants from non-western countries are at the same level as well. They all choose to come here, and even though they generally have a slightly lower standard of living, their crime levels generally match that of the rest of the population.

In other words. Refugees don’t really commit more crime. That’s a myth!

But then we look at the descendants of the non-western immigrants, and the crime rate suddenly explodes. A 2nd generation non-western immigrant is 150% more likely to commit a crime than the rest.

That’s a problem!

Why is this? Is it because of their religion? No, not really. If it was, the other immigrants would commit more crime as well (which they are not).

The likely answer, again, has to do with their living standards. We know that, as a group, non-western immigrants have a lower living standard than the other groups. That in itself causes more crime.

But the 2nd generation immigrants have another problem as well. They were all born and raised in Denmark, but are still considered to be foreigners by many people. They constantly have to face the immense amount of bigotry and ethnic racism from large groups of the public, the politicians and the media. Not a day goes by without having someone tell them (either directly or via the press) to ‘go home’.

So, we have lower living standards combined with ethnic racism for a group that is already frustrated by their situation, which means that their rate of crime goes up.

In short, what we are seeing here is a failure of integration. Not because they are 2nd generation immigrants, but because we aren’t accepting them. It’s exactly the same thing that we are seeing in the US where we have a combination of lower living standards and racism towards black people.

Do religion and culture play into this as well? Maybe. We know that the gender disparity is much lower in Muslim countries than anywhere else. According to World Economic Forums’ Gender Gab Index, the index for Denmark is .82, while it’s only .58 in Syria (1 is full equality while zero is none).

This is a problem, but it doesn’t really explain the crime rates. Remember, the first generation immigrants aren’t really committing any more crime than other people.

In fact, for rape, the rate is actually proportionally lower for 2nd generation immigrants than for other crimes.

So, all the bigotry and hatred you have been hearing over the past month in that ‘muslim men are raping women’ isn’t really supported by the data. Yes, it’s higher, but not because of their religion.

This, of course, doesn’t excuse what happened in Europe on New Year’s Eve. That was terrible, but it explains that it isn’t a common problem.

Number of people just like you and me

I want to make one more point.

Over the past month, we have seen stories about how women were afraid to even go into elevators with foreign looking men (again because of what happened on New Years eve in Europe). But let me show you one more graph.

Source: Dansk Statistik

Statistically speaking. For every 9,600 immigrants, only one might turn out to be a rapist. The remaining 9,599 immigrants are just like you and me. They are friendly, welcoming people with dreams and hopes who like your country as much as you.

Note: It’s the same with black people in the US. 99.989% are not rapists.

And more importantly, the number of rapes is in decline. There is no reason for all this fear mongering.

Don’t give into the stereotypes, regardless if we are talking about a different race or culture. Focus on the real problem.

Rape is never acceptable, but neither is bigotry.



Thomas Baekdal
I blame the Squirrel

Author, Professional Writer, Magazine Publisher and Media Analyst.