Reports 2013/23

The growth and composition of the population under varying immigration assumptions

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In 2010-2011 Statistics Norway (SSB) conducted the project "Demographic and economic effects of migration" for the Welfare and Migration Commission (see VMU 2011). This is documented in the report “Macro¬economic and public finance in different scenarios for immigration” (Holmøy and Strøm 2012). This report presents the population projections that were used in the economic analysis. The projections were made with the first version of a new model for projecting the population of Norway (BEFINN) by age, gender, immigrant category (immigrants, Norwegian-born children of immigrant parents and the rest of the population), and country group and duration of residence for immigrants. The model does not project the population of municipalities and counties. Duration of residence is important for analysing the economic consequences of immigration, as duration of stay in Norway is essential for the integration of immigrants, e.g. in the labour market. But it is also important for demographic behaviour, such as fertility and emigration.

The initial population is the registered population as of 1.1. 2009, while the assumptions about fertility, life expectancy and net immigration are as similar as possible to those that were assumed for the main variant of the projections published in June 2010, which used the old model BEFREG, in particular net immigration. There are nevertheless some differences in the results, especially because gross migration flows play a more important role in the new model than in BEFREG.

This report explains the structure of the model BEFINN, the assumptions about the different components with particular emphasis on what is new, i.e., fertility and emigration rates by duration since the first immigration to Norway, and some results. Both the birth rate and the emigration rate are high during the first years after immigration and then decrease. Immigrant children born in Norway have lower emigration rates than their parents, but higher than the rest of the population.

In the projections immigrants and their children born in Norway are divided into three country groups: (1) Western Europe, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand; (2) Eastern European members of the European Union; and (3) The rest of the world, i.e. the rest of Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania (without Australia and New Zealand). In addition, the projections were made for the rest of the population, i.e., persons who are not immigrants or their children born in Norway. Emigration is significantly greater in the new model than in the old model BEFREG. This means that immigration will also be higher, since the assumptions were made about the net immigration. The projected population is somewhat younger than the one projected by BEFREG, while the population size is a little higher.

According to the main variant, the proportion of immigrants will grow from 9 percent in 2010 to 22 percent around 2076, and then decline to 21 percent in 2100, while the percentage Norwegian-born children of immigrants will increase from 2 percent in 2010 to 8 percent in 2100. The rest of the population will decline from 89 percent in 2010 to 71 percent in 2100. Persons with background from country group 2 will grow the most, both absolutely and relatively, from 80,000 in 2010 to 730,000 in 2100.

In addition to the main variant described above, Statistics Norway has also made several projections with changing immigration assumptions. This was done by increasing immigration from each of the three country groups by 5,000 persons, either in a single year (2015) or in the remaining years of the projection period (2015 to 2100). Different assumptions were also made about family immi¬gration. The impact in the long term is most marked for an increase in immigration from country group 3. For example, the addition to Norway’s population size will decline to 2,000 in 2100 if there are 5,000 more immigrants from group 1 or 2 in 2015, but grow to 6,000 if the additional immigration comes from country group 3. The reason for this is that these immigrants emigrate to a less extent and have more children than immigrants from the other country groups. For the same reasons, higher immigration from country group 3 has larger permanent effects on the age structure.

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