New method for defining urban settlement boundaries
Population;Nature and the environment
beftett, Population and land area in urban settlements, densely populated areas, sparsely populated areas, residents, population, population density, population size, centre zones, geo-referenced addressArea , Population count, Nature and the environment, Population



Population and land area in urban settlements1 January 2013


New method for defining urban settlement boundaries

On 1 January 2013, Statistics Norway introduced a new method for defining urban settlement boundaries. The new method gives a more accurate delimitation, where the outer boundary in most cases will follow the boundary of roads and built-up elements. The most important data source for the method is Statistics Norway’s delimitation of land use.

Population and area. Urban settlements.1 January
Change Change in per cent
2012 - 2013 2012 - 2013
1The urban settlements of Lommedalen, Heggelia and Nærnes are separated from the urban settlement of Oslo. It resided 16 600 residents in these urban settlements.
2The urban settlements of Hylkje and Fanahammeren are merged with the urban settlement of Bergen. It resided 6 000 residents in the merged urban settlements.
3The urban settlements of Lierbyen and Skoger merged with the urban settlement of Drammen. It resided about 6 000 residents in the merged urban settlements.
Figures for change in Drammen settlement from 2012-2013 were changed 21 July 2014
Residents in urban settlements 4 050 638 92 657 2.3
Residents in rural settlements 978 344 -33 267 -3.3
Area of urban settlement (km²) 2 127.54 -295.25 -12.19
Number of residents pr km2 in urban areas 1 904 270 16.5
Proportion residents in urban settlements, per cent 80.19 0.80 1.00
Residents in the five largest urban settlements
Oslo1 925 228 -14 0.0
Bergen2 247 731 9 633 4.0
Stavanger/Sandnes 203 771 2 418 1.2
Trondheim 169 972 2 374 1.4
Drammen3 110 503 8 508 8.3

The change involves a break in the time series. The urban settlement statistics are still based on information from the Central Population Register and the Ground property register, and it is still the distance between buildings that determines what areas are defined as an urban settlement.

On 1 January 2013, 4 050 000 of the population of Norway were living in urban settlements, or 80 per cent.

The new method of defining boundaries has resulted in an additional growth in the population of urban settlements beyond what can be attributable to real population growth and increased development of residential buildings.

The number of people residing in urban settlements increased by about 90 000 in 2012 compared to a total increase in the population of Norway of 68 000 persons in the same period.

The total area of urban settlements in Norway is 2 128 square kilometres; a reduction of 295 square kilometres from 2012, or 12 per cent.

These conditions have resulted in an increased population density in urban settlements. On 1 January 2013, the average population density was 1 904 residents per square kilometre, which is an increase of 270 residents since 1 January 2012 (16 per cent).