2 377 000 households

Published:

The number of private households in Norway amounted to 2 377 000 as of 1 January 2017. An average of 2.2 persons lived in each household.

The number of households increased by 32 700 in 2016, shows new figures from the statistics Families and households. The increase in the number of households is mainly due to the fact that the population grew by 44 300 people in 2016.

Many people live alone

Most people, 28 per cent, live in a household with two persons. It is also quite common to live alone. Seventeen per cent of the people living in private households live alone.

In recent decades, more and more households have consisted of one person, and the average size of households has declined gradually. This trend seems to be continuing, but at a slower rate. In recent years we have seen a decline in the proportion of people living alone in Oslo, especially in the inner city urban districts. This development is possibly driven by the increasing housing prices and the fact that some people choose to live with others in order to reduce living expenses. However, more than half of the homes in these urban districts are inhabited by one person only.

The proportion that lives alone varies with age and sex

All in all, approximately the same percentage of men and women live alone. A total of 21.6 per cent of men and 21.7 per cent of women aged 16 years or more live alone. However, the proportions living alone vary considerably between age groups and between men and women. Changes are largest in the lifecycle of women.

Figure 1. Men and women living alone, by age. 1 January 2017
Figure 1. Men and women living alone, by age. 1 January 2017
Age 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95
Men 0.9 1.4 3.5 9.8 16.5 25.3 28.7 31.9 31.4 30.3 30.1 29.1 28.6 27.4 26.1 24.9 24 22.2 21.6 22 22.2 21.5 20.7 20.6 19.9 19.7 19.5 19.3 19.4 19.4 19.5 19.1 19.5 20.2 20.6 21 20.9 21.3 20.9 21.4 21.6 21.5 21.8 21.7 21.6 21.5 20.7 20.9 20.5 20.3 20.8 19.9 19.9 20.4 20.3 20 20.2 20.2 20.6 21.3 22 22.7 23.3 22.8 25 26.6 27 27.8 29.3 32 34.9 36.2 38.1 41.6 43.6 46.7 48 53.3 52.9 63.7
Women 0.6 1.2 3.4 11.4 21.4 32.3 30.4 26.9 24 22.6 21.9 20.7 19.3 17.7 15.7 14.3 12.9 11.6 11.1 10.8 10.7 10.3 9.7 9 9 8.9 9 9 9.3 10 10.6 11.2 11.7 12.7 13.4 14.7 16 17.3 18.5 19.1 19.9 21 21.6 22.6 23.2 23.8 24.4 25.9 25.6 26.6 27.4 28.2 28.9 29.6 30.8 32.8 34 36.1 37.9 40 42.1 44.6 47.1 49.1 53.3 56.1 59.3 62.6 64.6 68.5 70.6 72.9 76.9 77.9 80.4 81.5 82.6 85.1 86.9 86.9

It is quite common for elderly people to live alone, but also amongst the youngest you will find many people living alone. For both women and men, there is a peak in the proportion that lives alone in their early 20s. Nearly one in three live alone in this age group. The proportion of women living alone is lowest when they are about 40 years old; when less than 10 per cent of women in this age group live alone. The proportion also decreases a great deal for men as they grow older, but is not as low as for women. By the end of their 30s, about one-fifth of men live alone and the proportion of men living alone is almost unchanged until the age of 75.

The relatively higher percentage of men living alone is partly explained by divorces. In a divorce, the children usually stay with the mother and the father lives alone, at least temporarily. As from 60 years of age it is more common for women than for men to live alone. One main reason for this is that women on average live longer than their generally older husbands and become widows.

Regional differences

It is most common to live alone in central urban municipalities and in remote inland areas in Southern Norway, as well as in Northern Norway. In Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim more than one in five live alone. Low percentages of persons living alone are found in the commuting areas around the largest cities and in coastal areas of Southern Norway.

Figure 2

Figur 2. Persons living alone. 1 January 2017. Per cent

Legal residence address

The statistics are mainly based on registers and legal residence address. Experience shows that statistics based on registers and legal residence address result in larger households, fewer one-person households and fewer cohabiting couples than statistics from surveys based on interviews and place of usual residence.

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