Reports 2014/11

Family immigration and marriage patterns 1990-2012

This publication is in Norwegian only

Open and read the publication in PDF (1.1 MB)

Family immigration, that is persons granted residence on the basis of family relations to someone in Norway, accounts for 40 percent of the non-Nordic immigration to Norway in the period 1990-2012. Family immigration has increased over time, there were four times as many family immigrants who arrived in 2012 compared to 1990.

We often separate family immigrants into two groups: those reuniting with family, and those establishing a new family. During the period, six out of ten family immigrants came to reunite with family in Norway, while four out of ten came to establish a new family. The number of family reunifications has increased, particularly after the millennium, primarily due to the influx of migrant workers from the new EEA countries. The number of family establishments has been stable. Most of the immigrants, who came to establish a family, did so to marry non- immigrants or Norwegian-born to immigrant parents. Among those who came to marry persons without immigrant background, seven out of ten are women.

The number of immigrants who came to establish a family with Norwegian-born to immigrant parents is low; less than 200 annually after the millennium. This despite the fact that the number of unmarried adults in this category is increasing. About half of these have married Norwegian-born with immigrant parents from Pakistan. The number of family establishments has not increased even though there are many more young unmarried Norwegian-born with immigrant parents from Pakistan today compared to 1990.

The fact that family establishments among young Norwegian-born to immigrant parents do not increase, is partly because it has become less common to marry at a young age among Norwegian-born to immigrant parents, and that those who marry often find a spouse in Norway . In 1998, 28 percent of Norwegian-born with immigrant parents from Pakistan aged 21-23 years were married. In 2013, the percentage has dropped to 8 percent.

Many immigrants from Asian and African countries find a spouse from the same country of origin, and they marry someone living abroad. This also applies to Norwegian-born children of immigrants who have already married, i.e. they find a spouse from the same origin as their parents.

Compared to the whole population, immigrant couples where both spouses originate from the same region, have are lower rate of divorces, except for those originating from Africa.

The share of divorces is higher among couples where only one spouse is an immigrant, particularly if the husband is an immigrant.

We do not know much about divorce rates among Norwegian-born to immigrant parents because many are still young and have not been married for a long time. Among those who are married, around 80 percent has been married for less than seven years in the period analyzed here (2008-2012). Of these, two percent of the couples are divorced.

52 800 immigrants came to the Norway in 2003-2005, and they still live here. 6 600 of these were granted family reunification, around 13 percent. A general trend is that women and those with high education reunify earlier than men and those with lower or no education. Migrant workers, especially those from EU countries, reunify the fastest.

Read more about the publication