Reports 2017/13

Living conditions among imigrants in Norway 2016

This publication is in Norwegian only.

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The report presents the results for immigrants who have participated in the Survey on living conditions among persons with an immigrant background 2016. The main purpose of the survey was to gain knowledge about the living conditions of immigrants and their Norwegian-born children in Norway, and to update the knowledge gained from previous analyses based on register data and surveys on living conditions. We also wanted to compare the general living conditions in Norway between large immigrant groups and between immigrants and their Norwegian-born children.

The sample for the survey consists of immigrants aged 16-74 with at least two years' residence in Norway, with backgrounds from Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Eritrea and Somalia.

People from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Eritrea and Somalia are mainly refugees, while family reunification or family establishment are two of the main reasons for immigration among immigrants from Turkey, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Among the people from Poland, the majority have come because of work. The median residence time is nine years, but this varies considerably by country of origin: from over 20 years for immigrants from Vietnam, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, to 4-5 years for immigrants from Eritrea and Poland.

In the report, we compare the results for immigrants with results for the population as a whole. The results for the population are weighted to reflect the sample of immigrants in terms of age, sex and place of residence.

Many immigrants feel a strong sense of belonging to both Norway and to their country of origin. The sense of belonging to Norway becomes stronger with residence time, while the sense of belonging to the country of origin decreases correspondingly. More than half want to stay in Norway in the future.

Immigrants are less likely to own the dwelling they live in compared to the entire population. They tend to live in blocks of flats, and they more often experience a poor dwelling standard. Many immigrants live in an overcrowded dwelling. However, considerably fewer consider their dwelling to be too small than those who are objectively defined as living in an overcrowded dwelling.

About two out of three immigrants are either married or cohabiting. The frequency of social contact with family and friends varies by country of origin. Immigrants more often feel lonely than the population as a whole.

The immigrant population is mainly made up of Muslims and Christians. The majority still belong to the religion in which they were raised. Religious affiliation is particularly strong among the people from Eritrea, Pakistan and Somalia. Practising a religion in Norway is perceived to be relatively uncomplicated. Religion is more important to female immigrants than to male immigrants.

Immigrants generally have a lower level of education than the population as a whole, but there are major disparities between individual countries of origin. Women are in the majority in the group without any education, but are also among those with the highest education.

A relatively low proportion of immigrants work in managerial positions or in occupations that require higher education. Fewer immigrants experience job security than employees as a whole, and they are more likely to work in a poor physical and ergonomic working environment. They also report that they have less influence on their own working day. Nevertheless, almost nine out of ten immigrants report that they are satisfied with their job.

Immigrants spend more time on domestic work than the population as a whole. Immigrants are more likely to care for people who are elderly, ill or disabled within their own households, while the proportion that provides unpaid care for people outside their own household is somewhat larger in the general population. The proportion of people doing unpaid work for organizations in the last year is lower among immigrants than among the general population, but there are disparities according to the country of origin. Immigrants with a long period of residence, good Norwegian skills and good health more often participate in such work.

Immigrants in employment appear to have a higher level of Norwegian skills than other immigrants, and this is particularly the case for women.”. Immigrants from Poland and some other immigrant groups with a long period of residence in Norway are less likely to consider their Norwegian skills to be good.

Immigrants are more often subjected to violence and threats than the population in general, but they rarely state that there are problems with crime, violence and vandalism where they live. They are as vulnerable to theft and criminal damage as the population in general. Immigrant women are more often subjected to violence than women in the general population.

Almost 50 per cent of immigrants in the survey have Norwegian citizenship, and a further 7 per cent state that they have applied for it. The main reasons for wanting to become a Norwegian citizen are to improve their prospects in Norwegian society and to feel a greater sense of belonging.

Immigrants find that they are being discriminated against in the labour market, in the workplace and in education because of their immigrant background. However, in health care, most of the immigrants feel that they are treated equally.

Trust in other people is lower among immigrants than in the general population, but trust in the political system, the judiciary and the police is equally high among immigrants as in the general population. The majority of both the general population and the immigrant population will not tolerate racism, the mockery of religion and/or bullying/harassment in the name of freedom of speech. The statement that working mothers are just as good mothers as those at home with their children was also supported by the majority of the immigrants and the general population.

A lower proportion of immigrants consider their health to be very good or good compared to the general population, and the proportion with mental health problems is higher among immigrants. However, the incidence of chronic illness and disability is approximately the same among immigrants as in the general population. Immigrants from Turkey, Pakistan and Iraq report the most health problems, while immigrants from Somalia, Eritrea and Poland rarely report such problems.

Immigrants in Norway have lower incomes than the average population. However, there are major income disparities among immigrants from different countries. The immigrants in the survey generally struggle more with their economy than the general population in terms of making ends meet and managing unforeseen and ongoing expenses.

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