The main alternative for the municipal projections shows that the population in Norway will grow by 11 per cent by 2050, but the growth is unevenly distributed across the Norwegian municipalities. The county Viken is expected to grow by 19 per cent, whereas the county Nordland shrinks by 2 percent. About 60 per cent of the municipalities are expected to grow, and just under 20 percent have particularly high growth of 15 percent or more. This means that a sizeable proportion of the municipalities, about 40 per cent, is expected to have a stable or declining population.
The results show that the population is centralizing. Population growth is particularly evident in densely populated areas, such as in the south-eastern part of Norway and for large cities and their surrounding areas. Many of the municipalities with declining populations are located in the rural areas. Among these, many are located in the hinterlands, along the Swedish border, in the north of Trøndelag, and in northern Norway.
The population of Norway is getting older, and the aging is particularly strong in the rural areas. This pattern is caused by young adults typically moving to central areas and having their children there, while the older population remains in the rural areas. Rural municipalities have a relatively old population today: 19 per cent of inhabitants are 70 years or older in the least central municipalities, while for the most central municipalities the number is 10 per cent. In 2050, the corresponding numbers for the least and most central municipalities are 26 and 17 per cent, respectively. The elderly (70+) will constitute one third of the population in some municipalities.
The basis for the projections is the beginning-of-year population in 2022 separated by gender, age, and place of residence, as well as demographic assumptions about future fertility, mortality, internal migration, immigration and emigration. The assumptions are constructed based on regional differences in demographic behavior in the last ten years and national assumptions about the development up to 2050. The assumptions are uncertain, and so are the projection results. The uncertainty grows over the projection horizon. Due to the persistence in population patterns, we know a lot about the municipalities' population in the short term - most of us will be a year older next year and reside at the same place. In the longer term, we must rely more heavily on the assumptions for projecting the population. Nonetheless, discrepancies can also occur in the short term; it is, for instance, still uncertain what will be the consequences of the war in Ukraine and the new security situation in Europe.
Like all models, the population projection model constitutes a simplification of reality. We therefore recommend users to take the results as a starting point. Assess whether the assumptions are reasonable and, if necessary, adjust the figures based on your own knowledge of local conditions. The table in the Statbank providing the municipal number of births, deaths and relocations will be helpful in such assessments.