The low population growth continues


The population in Norway grew by 8 829, or 0.17 per cent in the first quarter. This is the lowest population growth in the 1st quarter since the EU’s internal market expanded in 2006.

As per 1 April 2017, the population was 5 257 100. A total of 13 700 children were born in the first quarter and 11 300 persons died. The excess of births is the lowest since the first quarter of 2003. The immigration was somewhat higher than in the first quarter last year, while the emigration was roughly as high. About 15 200 persons were registered as immigrated and about 8 800 as emigrated. The relatively low immigration during recent years is in contrast to the period with high labour migration after the expansion of the EU’s internal market in 2006.

Figure 1

Excess of births, net migration and population growth

The two largest groups of citizens that immigrated were Syrian and Polish, which amounted to 14 and 10 per cent of the total immigration this quarter. Looking at the net migration, it was highest from Syria and Eritrea. Citizens from Syria amounted to a third of the net migration among foreign citizens. The reason for the high net migration among these two groups is that very few people from these countries emigrate; the majority stay in Norway.

Figure 2. The ten largest groups by immigration, emigration and net migration, by citizenship. 1st quarter 2017

Inmmigration Emigration Net migration
Croatia 161 18 143
Romania 340 191 149
Thailand 260 65 195
Iran 254 36 218
Lithuania 752 530 222
Iraq 239 15 224
Afghanistan 443 21 422
Poland 1524 1032 492
Eritrea 749 42 707
Syria 2163 14 2149

A lot of Norwegian citizens emigrated

A fifth of the persons who emigrated were Norwegian citizens. There was a net emigration of Norwegian citizens, i.e. more people emigrated than immigrated. A quarter of the Norwegian citizens were born in a country other than Norway. Among citizens from countries like Iceland, Germany, Estonia, India and Sweden, more people emigrated than immigrated.

Three counties without population growth

Oppland, Møre og Romsdal and Telemark were three counties with a population decrease in the 1st quarter. All other counties had a population growth. In Oppland, there was a birth deficit and a negative internal in-migration. In Møre og Romsdal there was a negative internal in-migration. All counties had positive net migration from abroad.

The highest percentage growth in relation to the population was found in Troms, with 0.4 per cent growth. The main reason is high immigration. Akershus and Oslo were also two counties at the top of the list. A total of 3 300 new inhabitants immigrated to Oslo from abroad, but the net migration was relatively low due to a lot of internal out-migration from the county – about 9 900 this quarter. Akershus had high net-migration, both internal and from abroad.

Figure 3. Net migration. Internal and from abroad, per thousand of population 1st quarter 2017

Net migration, internal Net migration from abroad
Finnmark Finnmárku 2.31 -1.27
Troms Romsa 3.07 0.21
Nordland 3.06 -1.47
Nord-Trøndelag 2.05 -1.41
Sør-Trøndelag 1.05 1.28
Møre og Romsdal 1.11 -1.56
Sogn og Fjordane 2.50 -1.95
Hordaland 0.99 -0.33
Rogaland 0.78 -0.88
Vest-Agder 1.74 -0.54
Aust-Agder 1.28 -1.03
Telemark 1.53 -0.92
Vestfold 1.35 0.48
Buskerud 1.53 0.11
Oppland 0.78 -0.25
Hedmark 1.00 0.08
Oslo 0.95 0.36
Akershus 0.48 2.15
Østfold 0.61 0.48
The whole country 1.64 0.00

Some medium-sized cities, like Kristiansund, Molde, Porsgrunn and Arendal, also had a population decrease in the 1st quarter.

Clearing-up in the Central Population Register

Persons staying in the country for less than six months are not registered as resident in the country and are therefore not included in these figures. More than a third of the emigrations last year concerned people that the Tax Administration has decided have emigrated. These are persons without a residence permit or persons who have emigrated a long time ago without reporting it to the authorities.


Short-term stays and Asylum seekers

Persons who stay in Norway for less than 6 months are not included in the figures. Asylum seekers are included when they are granted a residence permit.