National level results, methods and assumptions
Norway’s 2020 population projections
The 2020 national population projections show lower population growth and stronger ageing than in the previous projection produced in 2018. Nevertheless, the main alternative suggests that Norway will experience population growth throughout this century, from around 5.4 million today to 6.1 million in 2060, and around 6.3 million in 2100.
This is mainly due to positive net migration. We expect more births than deaths until 2050, after which the situation reverses. We also expect more elderly people in the population, with the population aged 65 years or above doubling by 2075 (from today’s 940 000) and reaching almost 2 million by 2100. The number of the very old, persons aged 90 or over, will also increase, from 45 000 to 210 000 by 2060, which corresponds to an almost fivefold increase. Within 10 years, and for the first time, there will be more elderly (65+ years) than children and teenagers (0-19 years), with the trend towards an ever-older population set to continue throughout the century.
Our main assumption (low and high in parentheses) is that the total fertility rate will remain stable at the current level (1.5) until 2025, before rising again and stabilising at around 1.7 (1.3-1.9). Life expectancy at birth is also expected to rise, from around 81.2 years for men and 84.7 years for women today, to 89 (86-91) and 91 (88-93) years in 2060, and 93 (90-97) and 95 (91-98) years in 2100. Immigration is expected to decline somewhat: In 2019, there were just over 50 000 immigrations to Norway. Due to travel restrictions and other circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, we expect particularly low immigration in 2020 and 2021. From 2022 onwards, we project that annual immigration will decline from around 45 000 (39 000-52 000) to around 37 000 (18 000-84 000) in 2100. The projected emigrations depend partly on the immigrations. In the main alternative, annual net migration remains stable at around 10 000-12 000 up to 2100.
The report also documents how the national population projections are produced, using the BEFINN model. The population is projected by age and sex to the year 2100. Immigrants from three country groups, Norwegian-born children with two immigrant parents and the rest of the population are projected as separate groups.
We use the cohort-component method, with two types of input:
• Updated figures for the population by sex and one-year age groups
• Assumptions about future developments in the demographic components (fertility, life expectancy and international migration)
The results of a population projection largely depend on the assumptions used for the three demographic components. We therefore apply different assumptions for future developments in fertility, life expectancy, and immigration: Medium (M); high (H); low (L); constant (C); zero net migration (E); and no migration (0). Taken together, Statistics Norway projects the population in 15 combinations of these assumptions. Each projection alternative is described using three letters in the following order: Fertility, life expectancy, and immigration. The term ‘main alternative' is used to refer to the MMM alternative, which indicates that the medium level assumption has been used for all three components. We also produce a stochastic projection, with probability intervals around the deterministic medium assumptions, to provide users with a formal assessment of the uncertainty.
Population projections are inherently uncertain. The uncertainty usually increases the further into the future we look. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been especially challenging to formulate assumptions this year – even for the short term. Users must bear this in mind when they employ the different alternatives of the 2020 national population projections in their work.
About the publication
Norway’s 2020 population projections. National level results, methods and assumptions
Astri Syse, Michael Thomas and Rebecca Gleditsch
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Analyses and annotated statistical results from various surveys are published in the series Reports. Surveys include sample surveys, censuses and register-based surveys.