The Danish Health Survey among Marginalized People: Study design and respondent characteristics

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Aim: The Danish Health Survey among Marginalized People is a nationwide health survey targeting people in marginalized life situations in Denmark. The aim of this paper is to present the study design, data collection methods and respondent characteristics of the survey, which was conducted in 2007, 2012, 2017 and 2022. Methods: The survey applies an outreach data collection approach which entails reaching out to social services (public and private) asking for their help with distributing self-administered paper questionnaires among their users. Themes include self-rated health, mental health, morbidity, pain, oral health, health behaviours, gambling problems, social relations, violence, sexual harassment and assault, suicide, and source of income. Results: The overall number of respondents has decreased slightly from 2007 (1290) to 2022 (1134). In all survey waves, men were overrepresented among the respondents. In 2007, women represented only 28%, which increased to 37% in 2022. There have been remarkable changes in the age distribution among respondents between 2007 and 2022. For example, the oldest age group (55–80 years) accounted for 15% of the respondents in 2007 and 40% in 2022. Conclusions: Conducting surveys among marginalized people entails methodological challenges and ethical considerations. However, continually attempting to reach marginalized people in surveys by tailoring data collection strategies to their specific life situation is essential to gain insight into their health and well-being.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Public Health
Issue number0
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7. Feb 2024


  • Denmark
  • Surveys and questionnaires
  • health inequalities
  • health status
  • health surveys
  • research design
  • social marginalization
  • vulnerable populations


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