Social conditions, welfare and crime;Immigration and immigrants

Living conditions among immigrants (discontinued)2005-2006


About the statistics


Name and topic

Name: Living conditions among immigrants (discontinued)
Topic: Social conditions, welfare and crime

Responsible division

Division for Social Welfare Statistics

Definitions of the main concepts and variables

In the 1983 survey, immigrants were defined as foreign citizens. In the 1996 and 2005/2006 survey, the immigrant population was defined as persons &– born abroad or in Norway &– with two foreign-born parents (and four foreign-born grandparents).

Standard classifications

Not relevant

Administrative information

Regional level

The survey is carried out at national level, but data for Oslo is available.

Frequency and timeliness

The survey is carried out every ten years. The first statistics were published in 1987 based on data from 1983. In 1997, statistics based on data from 1996 were published and in 2008 statistics based on data from 2005/2006.

International reporting

Not relevant


Data from the surveys are archived in the Norwegian Social Science Data Services (NSD).


Background and purpose

The purpose of this survey is to collect data on immigrants’ living conditions that are not available in the registers and that cannot be extracted from the regular surveys on living conditions due to the small number of non-Western immigrants in these surveys.

Users and applications

The Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion and other ministries, researchers on IMER issues and the public are the main users of the statistics.

Coherence with other statistics

In descriptive and analytical publications based on the surveys, the results are compared with answers to similar questions posed in the regular Level of living surveys.

Legal authority

The Statistics Act § 2-2.

EEA reference

Not relevant



The survey covers some of the largest non-Western immigrant groups in Norway and all continents. In 1983, five groups were included (United Kingdom, Turkey, Pakistan, Vietnam and Chile). In 1996, eight groups were included (the former Yugoslavia except Bosnia-Herzegovina, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Somalia and Chile), and in 2005/2006, ten groups were included (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Somalia and Chile).

Data sources and sampling

The data are collected in interviews, based on questionnaires and face-to-face contact. The questionnaires are translated into the relevant main languages.

In 1983, the gross sample included 250 foreign citizens aged 16-79 years from each of the five countries. In 1996 and 2005/2006, the gross sample was extended to 500 persons from each group aged 16-70 years. The samples were representative, but municipalities with few inhabitants from the relevant immigrant groups were excluded from the sampling basis due to the travel costs.

In connection with the latest survey (2005/2006), an additional survey was carried out including people of young age (16-24 years) who were either born in Norway by immigrant parents or who arrived in Norway at the age of 5 or younger. These descendants and immigrants have thus lived in Norway most of their life or their entire life. The results from this additional survey will be published later in 2008.

Collection of data, editing and estimations

The field work period for the 1983 survey lasted from October 1983 to January 1984. The field work for the 1996 survey was carried out from the end of March to the end of July 1996. The field work for the 2005/2006 survey started in September 2005 and ended in January 2007.

The interview information is registered on printed questionnaires. Any mistakes found are corrected. This may generate missing values on certain variables later in the questionnaire.

Because each nationality group is sampled with a different probability, we apply a weight that constructs the true relationship between the nationality groups regarding size. This weight is applied in figures that show the distribution in the ‘Total’ columns in the tables.


The identity of the respondents cannot be traced from the published data.

Comparability over time and space

Results from the 2005/2006 survey are to some extent comparable with results from the 1996 survey when the questions are sufficiently similar.

Accuracy and reliability

Sources of error and uncertainty

Halfway through the registration work, a control of the registration process for the 2005/2006 survey was carried out by arranging a repeated registration of 48 questionnaires by another operator. Around 1 per cent of the variables appeared to be different in the two versions. With altogether 12 different questionnaires in different languages, the process of manual data handling is rather complicated.

Register errors detected by unlikely combinations of national background and language are corrected by consulting the original questionnaires.

In 1983, the share of non-response was 24.7 per cent of the gross sample. In 1996, it was 33.2 per cent, while in 2005/2007 the percentage of non-response was 35.8 per cent. A part of the non-response is likely to derive from persons who have left the country and therefore cannot be interviewed. Strictly speaking these people should be excluded from the gross sample at the outset before the percentage of non-response is calculated. In all three surveys, the share of non-response varies between the country groups.

In 1996, some translation errors were detected and corrected during the interview process. The Spanish questionnaire was revised and reprinted due to translation errors. The documentation report for the 2005/2006 survey (Gulløy 2008) contains information on questions that have been misinterpreted, problems with mapping of households and the possibility for under or over-reporting the results of sensitive questions.