Background: Blood transfusion is an essential component of a modern healthcare system. Because knowledge about blood donor demography may inform the design of strategies for donor recruitment and retention, we used nationwide registers to characterize the entire population of blood donors in Denmark in 2010.
Methods: The study population comprised all Danes in the age range eligible for blood donation (N = 3,236,753) at the end of 2010. From the Scandinavian Donations and Transfusions (SCANDAT) register, we identified 174,523 persons who donated blood in Danish blood banks at least once in 2010. The association between sociodemographic characteristics and blood donor prevalence was examined using regression models.
Results: The overall prevalence of blood donation was 5.4% among both women and men. The age-specific prevalence of blood donation peaked at 25 years of age (6.8%) for women and 30 years of age (5.7%) for men. Children of any age were associated with lower prevalence of blood donation among women, while the opposite was seen for men. Middle to high income groups, but not the highest income group, had fourfold higher donor prevalence than the lowest income group (6.7% compared to 1.7%). The prevalence of blood donation was considerably lower among men living with their parents (2.9%) or alone (3.9%) than among men cohabitating with a woman (6.2%).
Summary: Social marginalization, as indicated by low income and being a male living without a woman, was associated with lower prevalence of blood donation. However, individuals with very high incomes and women with children were underrepresented in the Danish blood donor population.