Updated: 20 March 2023

Next update: Not yet determined

Migration to Norway
Migration to Norway
90 475

About the statistics

The statistics show the extent of immigration to and emigration from Norway, as well as the numbers moving within and between Norwegian municipalities and counties. A person who moves several times during the calendar year is counted the corresponding number of times.


Who is regarded as a resident of Norway and where in Norway a person shall be counted as a resident, is stipulated in the Population Registration Act of January 16th 1970. The regulations to the act were amended effective February 1st 1980.

The following main points from the registration rules decide who is regarded as a resident of Norway

Persons from countries outside the Nordic countries are regarded as residents of Norway when they have lived here or intend to live here at least 6 months, even though the stay is temporary. The same six-month rule applies to migration from Norway to a country outside the Nordic countries.

The aforementioned six-month rule does not always apply to migration between Norway and another Nordic country. In Denmark, for example, a person is registered as a resident if the person intends to stay in the country at least 3 months. The same limit is used for out-migration. In Sweden and Finland the limit is one year. For persons who come/move to Norway from another Nordic country, the six-month rule is still valid, as residence is decided by the country of immigration's rules, cf. the Nordic agreement on inter-Nordic migration dated 8 May 1989. This agreement replaced a similar agreement from December 5th 1968.

People living in Svalbard, on Jan Mayen or in Norwegian dependencies who on departure were registered in the population register of a Norwegian municipality shall still be counted as residents of that municipality. The same rules apply to people on the Norwegian continental shelf.

Norwegian foreign and consular service staff and Norwegian military personnel posted for duty abroad are counted as residents of Norway. The same applies to their families.

Foreign staff at foreign embassies and consular services and foreign personnel attached to NATO are not counted as residents of Norway. The same applies to their families.

The main rule for where in Norway a person is regarded as a resident is that the person resides where he/she has their regular daily rest (night's sleep). If the daily rest is taken in shifts at one or more places, the person is regarded as residing where, overall, they can be said to live on a regular basis. Spouses with a joint home and persons sharing a joint home with their children are regarded as residing in this home without regard to where they have their daily rest.

Single persons who attend school in another municipality are as a main rule still regarded as resident of the place they lived before starting school (the residence of their parents). Similar registration principles also apply to conscripts serving their initial military service, alternative national service conscripts, prisoners, and people admitted to hospitals. Persons admitted to or placed in other institutions or private care are as a main rule regarded as residents when the stay is intended to last, or turns out to last, at least 6 months.

From March 1987 to January 1994 asylum seekers were usually counted as immigrants and hence also as residents even though the processing of their application for residence had not been completed. Before and after this period, only asylum seekers with residence permits have been registered.

In-migration, out-migration

Migration is when one person moves from one Norwegian municipality to another or between a Norwegian municipality and abroad. If a person moves several times during the same calendar year, each move counts. In the migration figures for counties and regions moves between the municipalities in the county/region are not counted.

Net migration

The difference between in-migration and out-migration.

Rate: Events in a period divided by population. The period is often 1 year. For five year periods the tables are published with the average for the five-year period, e.g. internal migration broken down by five age groups per 1 000 mean population in the same age group.


Centralisation is the geographical location of a municipality compared to an urban settlements of a particular size. The level of centralisation is classified in 4 main categories, coded 3 – 0. Code 3 centralisation is achieved when the physical centre of the population of a municipality is within 75 minutes of travel from an urban settlement with a population of minimum of 50 000 inhabitants (90 minutes from Oslo). To achieve code 3, an additional requirement is that the urban settlement in question acts as a regional centre. Code 2 means a maximum travel of 60 minutes to an urban settlement with the minimum of 15 000 inhabitants. Code 1 means a maximum travel of 45 minutes to an urban settlement with the minimum of 5 000 inhabitants. The municipalities that do not fulfil any of these requirements get the code 0.

“Central municipalities” is coded 3, “Fairly central municipalities” is coded 2, “Fairly remote municipalities” is coded 1, and “Remote municipalities” is coded 0.

Name: Migrations
Topic: Population

Not yet determined

Division for Population Statistics

Country, county and municipality.


Eurostat and UN

Data files at the individual level that are processed and stored long-term.

The historical data on migration only cover emigration to other parts of the world (overseas countries) for the years 1825-1965. Annual total figures for emigrants are given in Historical Statistics. Norway has kept more comprehensive statistics on migration since 1951. The establishment of the population registries made it possible for Statistics Norway to prepare statistics on migration, both between Norwegian municipalities and to and from abroad. Migration is defined as change of residence. Migration within municipalities was included in the statistics for the first time in 1999. Intramunicipal migration was not included before. Statistics on migration is generally somewhat less reliable than statistics on other population changes. Due to a lack of reporting, emigration figures in particular are too low.

Public administration, politicians, the press and electronic media, schools and institutions involved in research on demographics and living standards, and private persons.

No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on ssb.no at 08 am. Prior to this, a minimum of three months' advance notice is given inthe Statistics Release Calendar. This is one of Statistics Norway’s key principles for ensuring that all users are treated equally.

Migration is included in the population accounts as one of the components for understanding the changes in the Population.

The statistics Population and population changes cover the quarterly figures for migrations, but with fewer variables. Country background, country of emigration/immigration, gender, age, marital status of migrants, are only available in the Statbanktables produced for the yearly migration statistics you’re now looking at.

The migration statistics that show migration to/from Norway by foreign nationals over the course of one year can have an impact on the number of the naturalisations in Norway seven years later.

Statistics Act § 10

Not relevant

The statistics cover all migration registered in the course of the year between Norwegian municipalities and between a Norwegian municipality and abroad. A person who moves several times during the calendar year is counted the corresponding number of times. Migration within the municipalities was included in the statistics for the first time in 1999. From 1998 the statistics mainly cover migration that actually took place in the course of the year. Migration from the years before 1998 is included in the 1998 figures if the report was made from 1 March 1998 to 29 February 2000, i.e. too late to be included in the 1997 statistics or earlier editions.

From 1985 to 1997 the statistics covered migration that actually had taken place that year and in addition only migration from the previous year, i.e. those who were too late to be included in the statistics.

Migration statistics are based on population register data. The figures from 1995 and later are based on the Central Population Register (DSF) at the Directorate of Taxes, while the figures for 1968-1994 are taken from its predecessor, the National Population Register (DSP). The register was built up from 1964 to 1966 on the basis of the 1960 census, at the same time as the 11-digit national identity number was introduced as identification. The Office of the National Registrar, which administrates the register, was transferred in 1991 from Statistics Norway to the Directorate of Taxes.

Since 1946 each municipality has had a local population registry that registers all residents in the municipality, pursuant to the Population Registration Act and its regulations. The population registries receive reports of births, deaths, marriages, divorces, migration etc. from various sources.

Reports of internal migration are based on reporting obligations to the population registry and to the post, immigration and emigration are based on reporting obligations to the population registry of the in-migration municipality, and to the out-migration municipality in cases of emigration. Migration reports shall be given by the person who is moving within 8 days of the move. This also applies to migration from abroad to a Norwegian municipality. Persons who leave the country are obligated to notify the out-migration municipality. Immigration and emigration shall be reported if the person intends to stay at least 6 months.

Updating of the Central Population Register is done in part by the local population registries, which are connected to the DSF via terminals, and in part by the Directorate of Taxes. The basis of the statistics on changes in the population is electronic copies to Statistics Norway of all such register updates. The reports are also used to update a separate Statistics Norway population database kept for statistical purposes, which forms the basis for the statistics on the composition of the population.

In addition to checks made by the DSF, Statistics Norway performs checks for statistical purposes.

Not relevant

If a number in a table consists of three or fewer units and disclosing these units can lead to identification of individuals, the number is rounded up or the table cell left empty.

Because of migration surges in 1960, 1970 and 1980 the comparability is not as good for these years as for other years. In 1998 the scope of the migration that is included was changed, leading to an increase in emigration which could impact comparability.

Mergers, divisions and redrawing of the borders of regional units need to be taken into consideration if the statistics are to be compared at regional levels over time.

The migration figures for the first years the reporting routines were in use are the most uncertain. The figures for 1960 and 1970 cover a number of moves across municipal borders that took place during the preceding 10-year period, but were not discovered and registered before the population registers were checked against the 1960 and 1970 censuses. Moreover, it turned out that a number of persons registered as residing in Norway at the time of the censuses had actually moved abroad. This explains the pronounced increase in migration these two years. A somewhat similar but smaller surge in internal migration seems to apply to 1980. The higher figure this year is probably ascribable to the fact that moves that took place earlier were reported/registered in 1980 even though the population was the control source.

From March 1987 to January 1994 asylum seekers as a rule were counted as immigrants - and therefore also as residents of Norway - even though their application for a residence permit had not been completely processed. Before and after this period only asylum seekers with a residence permit were registered. Persons who leave the country without reporting that they have moved have also been a major source of error in recent years. As a result of surveys conducted in 1993, the population registries registered as having migrated abroad nearly 3 000 foreigners who had previously left Norway without reporting the move. Oslo was the most affected by the out-registration (1 600 persons). Some of this out-migration should have been spread over several years. Out-registrations were also done in 1994, 1995, 1997 and 1998. In 1998 nearly 1 100 persons who had left Norway before 1997 were registered as having migrated abroad. They are included in the emigration figures for 1998. Since 2012 there has been out-registrations of persons who migrated earlier years without reporting the move.

Register errors: The quality of the reports is generally very good, although the emigration figures have been somewhat low due to reporting failures.

Not relevant

Key figure pages


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