Next million reached set to be the fastest
According to the main alternative in Statistics Norway’s population projections, the population of Norway will pass 6 million just after 2030, making it the fastest million growth in the country’s history.
Today, the population of Norway stands at 5.2 million. The 5 million mark was passed in 2012, which was 37 years after reaching 4 million in 1975. The population projections show continued growth in the population based on the assumption that immigration will continue to exceed emigration and that the number of births will still be higher than the number of deaths.
In the main alternative MMMM, 6 million will be passed just after 2030, which means a growth of 1 million in less than 20 years. This is the quickest million ever reached in Norway’s history. Looking further ahead, we expect continued growth, but at a slower pace than before. We will pass the 7 million mark by 2060, and reach 8 million before 2090 according to the main alternative.
Several different alternatives are created in the population projections for Norway. The main alternative MMMM shows the development when assuming a medium development in fertility, life expectancy, internal migration and immigration. This assumes that the current fertility level will remain at around 1.7 children per woman, that life expectancy will increase by around seven years for men and five years for women by 2060, that the internal migration pattern of recent decades will continue, and that net migration in the long term will be between 25 000 and 30 000.
The main results along with a short version of the assumptions are available in English in the following article: Population projections 2016-2100: Main results.
In the main alternative, Norway’s population will continue to grow throughout this century. In the alternative with high national growth HHMH, growth will be even faster, and we will pass 6 million in just ten years, with the strong growth continuing throughout the period. This alternative is based on higher fertility, higher life expectancy, and a significantly higher net migration than in the main alternative. In the alternative with low growth LLML, however, the population never reaches 6 million. The population stops growing at 5.9 million around 2060 and then gradually declines.
More in central areas
We assume that central areas will see the highest population growth, and that Norway’s cities will grow considerably. In the main alternative MMMM, the populations of Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim will surpass 700 000, 300 000 and 200 000 respectively over the next ten years. Strong growth will also be seen in many of the municipalities situated near regional centres.
Other municipalities will see a fall in the population. Most of these municipalities are situated in the northern half of the country, and many are rural.
According to the main alternative in the population projections, the number of immigrants in Norway will continue to grow: the current figure of 700 000 will double to 1.4 million by the mid-2040s, and continue to increase to 1.7 million in 2060. The number of persons born in Norway to two immigrant parents will also see a considerable increase. This is based on the expectation of a relatively high net migration.
The projections of immigration to Norway entail a large degree of uncertainty, which in turn means the number of immigrants that will live in Norway in the future is also the subject of much uncertainty. In the alternative with high immigration MMMH, Norway will have 2.4 million immigrants in 2060, compared to 1.4 million in the alternative with low immigration MMML.
Another group that will see considerable growth in the years ahead is the elderly. In the main alternative, one in every five people will be aged 70 or over in 2060, compared to one in nine at present. This is in part due to the assumption of a steadily increasing life expectancy.
There will also be many more elderly immigrants. Today, immigrants only make up 4 per cent of those aged 70 or over. In the main alternative, this figure increases to 27 per cent in 2060, when one in four of the most elderly are immigrants.
The ageing of the population is much stronger in the districts than in the towns. Just 12 per cent of Oslo’s population will be aged 70 or over in 2040, compared to more than 30 per cent in some district municipalities, according to the main alternative.
The ageing of the population in general and of immigrants in particular is discussed in more detail in the article Population projections 2016-2100: Main results.
Large degree of uncertainty
How the size and composition of the population of Norway will develop is not obvious. The disparities between the different alternatives illustrate how the assumptions used in projections determine the outcomes of the different alternatives. Future immigration is particularly subject to a large degree of uncertainty, but fertility, life expectancy, internal migration and emigration can also prove to be rather different than expected. The uncertainty increases the further into the future we look, and the figures are even more uncertain in projections for small groups, such as the population of municipalities by sex and age in years.
Further reading in Economic Survey
The results of the population projections, as well as the methods and assumptions used, are discussed in further detail in the Economic Survey 3/2016, which includes separate articles on the main results, fertility, mortality, immigration and emigration, and the regional projections, plus a separate article about the accuracy of earlier projections. Unfortunately these articles are only available in Norwegian.
Detailed results from the projection are available in StatBank, and English menus are provided. These include breakdowns by age and sex for all municipalities up to 2040 and for the country as a whole up to 2100.
In the population projections at county and municipal level we assume that the regional patterns of the last ten years for fertility, internal migration and mortality will continue. This means that we have not factored in plans for closures or start-ups of new jobs, future road and rail building, house building etc. The documentation memorandum on population projections gives a detailed explanation of how the regional projections are made.
The figures from the various tables from the population projections do not always tally. This is partly because the figures are rounded off at different levels, but mostly because two different models are used in the projections (one national and one regional), and the results from the individual components are not fully calibrated.
The definitions of age and migration are somewhat different in the population projections compared to the definitions applied in the regular population statistics, and as a result, comparable figures in the projections and the population statistics may differ slightly. This applies in particular to life expectancy, immigration and emigration. Net migration is, however, similarly defined. For more information on comparability, please refer to the documentation report on the population projections.