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Copenhagen, Denmark

Danish citizens have become more satisfied with their municipalities, study finds

Danish citizens have become more satisfied with their municipalities, study finds

The structural reform of 2007 has had a positive impact on people’s satisfaction with local governments

In 2007, a structural reform reduced the number of municipalities in Denmark from 271 to 98. At the time, citizens’ satisfaction was reportedly declining for several years. Now, a recent study has found that the levels of satisfaction in the merged municipalities have gradually increased.

Financed and commissioned by the Ministry of the Interior and Housing, the survey was conducted by the University of Southern Denmark and the Danish Centre for Social Science Research VIVE with the aim of assessing the impact of the 2007 reform.

A positive change

On 5 April, VIVE revealed the findings of its recent survey, explaining that people have become more satisfied with their local governments since the structural reform. More specifically, the levels of satisfaction increased most in the merged municipalities, rising from an index of 6.8 to 7.5 from 2009 to 2021.

Senior Researcher at VIVE Rasmus Tue Pedersen discussed the reform, sharing that the citizens of the merged municipalities have experienced major changes in the recent decades; that is, they were forced to become accustomed to being part of new and larger municipalities that subsequently operated in different ways.

Despite the challenge of adapting to the reform, citizens became more satisfied with their municipality’s ability to resolve problems. In addition to this, VIVE disclosed that they also became more content with local services and facilities as well as how local democracy works.

It is important to note that the Danish research centre has conducted numerous comprehensive questionnaire surveys since 2001 in order to make comparisons over the years. Analysing these studies, VIVE has reported that citizens’ views of local democracy have otherwise remained largely unchanged since the first survey in 2001.

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