Reports 2016/39

Family immigration and marriage patterns 1990-2015

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Family immigration, which is defined as persons granted residence on the basis of family relations to someone residing in Norway, accounted for 36 per cent of the non-Nordic immigration to Norway in the period 1990-2015. Family immigration has increased over time, with four times as many family immigrants arriving in 2015 compared to 1990.

We often separate family immigrants into two groups: those reuniting with family members, and those establishing a new family. During the period, six out of ten family immigrants came to reunite with family members in Norway, while four out of ten came to establish a new family. The number of family reunifications has increased, particularly since the turn of the millennium, primarily due to the influx of migrant workers from the new EEA countries. The number of family establishments has remained stable.

Most of the immigrants who came to establish a family did so to marry non-immigrants or Norwegian-born to immigrant parents. Of those who came to marry persons without an immigrant background, seven out of ten were women.

The number of immigrants who came to establish a family with Norwegian-born to immigrant parents is low; less than 200 a year since the turn of the millennium. This is despite the fact that the number of unmarried adults in this population is increasing. About half of this population have married Norwegian-born with immigrant parents from Pakistan. The number of family establishments has not increased despite the large increase in unmarried Norwegian-born with immigrant parents from Pakistan from 1990 to 2015.

Part of the reason why family establishments among young Norwegian-born to immigrant parents have not increased is because it has become less common for Norwegian-born to immigrant parents to marry at a young age, and because those who marry often find a spouse in Norway.

We have looked into the scope of family reunification for refugees through three stages. There are three things that play an important role when it comes to family immigration to Norway: Time, the time from when the refugees get resident and until they get family to Norway. What country they come from. Here We see great variety. Many refugees get few family members to Norway. Two countries stand out with much family immigration, Iraq and Somalia. We also see that family reunification for refugees that happens indirectly through several stages have some affect.

The analysis results show that family reunification of unaccompanied refugee minors is a limited phenomenon. Only 12 percent of unaccompanied minors who arrived in the period from 1996 to 2015 have been a reference person to one or more family members.

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