Key figure page

Key figures for Svalbard

Svalbard is a Norwegian group of islands in the Arctic Ocean. The area corresponds to approximately 16 per cent of the total area of land inNorway. The largest island is Spitsbergen, where all permanent settlements and human activity are located. The statistics aim to provide a complete picture of life and the community on the group of islands.

Key figures Svalbard
Unit Value Change in % previous year / the corresponding period last year1 Period
1The change in percentage figure indicates the change for variables with a percentage given as the unit
Nature and the environment
Area km2 61 022 0.0 2017
Protected area Per cent 64.7 0.0 2016
Industry statistics
Turnover in coal mining NOK million 671 15.6 2016
Employees in coal mining Number 109 -54.6 2016
Guest nights in hotels and other overnight establishments Number 8 038 6.9 October 2017
Social statistics
Population Number 2 752 3.2 2nd half year 2017
Share of women in Norwegian settlements Per cent 45.8 1.2 2nd half year 2017
Pupils in compulsory schooling Number 241 6.2 2017
Average gross income NOK 609 000 -2.0 2016
Average assessed taxes NOK 119 300 1.0 2016
Prices and price indices
Svalbard price level in relation to mainland Per cent 83.4 .. 2010
Svalbard consumer price index Index (2001=100) 130.1 1.4 2013
Culture and recreation
No. of snow scooters Number 2 145 -0.7 2016
Broadband subscriptions as percentage of households Per cent 97.7 28.7 3rd quarter 2017

Facts on Svalbard

Longyearbyen is the Norwegian administration centre and the largest settlement on Svalbard. In the past 20 years, the town has gone from a homogenous community built up around the mining company Store Norske Spitsbergen Kullkompani, to a more diverse society. The other settlements are Barentsburg (Russian), Sveagruva, Ny-Ålesund, Hornsund and the two meteorological stations on Hopen and Bjørnøya. There are also four fishing stations spread throughout Spitsbergen.

Nature and the environment: Svalbard has seven national parks, six large nature reserves, 15 bird sanctuaries and one geotopic protected area. Well over half of the land area is protected.

Industry statistics: The mining operations are still the main industry on Svalbard, but tourism and research/education are growing industries. Blocks of flats, terraced housing, chain housing, bedsits and other small houses make up over 90 per cent of the housing stock in Longyearbyen. Slightly less than 5 per cent of homes are detached houses and semi-detached houses.

Social statistics: The total population of Svalbard was between 2 300 and 2 600 throughout the 2000s.

Prices and price indices: Whilst Svalbard residents previously had a somewhat more modest lifestyle than those on the mainland, the population of Longyearbyen now consumes more than their mainland counterparts. The increase is partly due to a greater abundance of goods and services on offer, better travel connections to the mainland, new institutions and a private housing market. The average gross income for economically active persons onSvalbard is higher than on the mainland, while the price level is lower.

Administration of Svalbard

The Svalbard Treaty was signed in Paris on 9 February 1920 and gives Norway sovereignty over Svalbard, while at the same time providing for certain rights for the 40 treaty signatories.

The Governor of Svalbard is the Norwegian government's supreme representative on Svalbard and administratively he reports to the Ministry of Justice and the Police. The office also carries out tasks for a number of other ministries such as the Ministry of the Environment. The Governor of Svalbard has a staff of 27, who are divided into three departments; the Department of Environment Conservation, the Police Department and the Administration Department.

The Polar Affairs Department, under the Ministry of Justice and the Police coordinates the administration's handling of matters concerning Svalbard. The coordination is mainly carried out through the Interministerial Committee on the Polar Regions. The Polar Affairs Department also has overall responsibility for the Governor of Svalbard.

Longyearbyen Community Council was established on 1 January 2002 and is responsible for the infrastructure in Longyearbyen, social and land planning, financial planning, commercial activity, statistics production, development and coordination of community work aimed at children, adolescents and adults, child welfare, citizens' advice, youth work, kindergarten places, and the political secretariat.

Election to Longyearbyen Community Council is regulated by the Regulations on Community Council elections in Longyearbyen. Election to the Community Council is through direct elections held in October every four years. The term of office is four years.