Population and land area in urban settlements

Updated: 12 December 2023

Next update: Not yet determined

Residents in urban settlements
Residents in urban settlements
Population and area in urban settlements. 1 January.
Population and area in urban settlements. 1 January.
20232022 -2023
PopulationChangeChange in per cent
Residents in urban settlements4 554 56269 3261.5
Residents in rural settlements928 566-4 598-0.5
Area of urban settlements (km²)2 266.9916.050.71
Nummer of residents per km² in urban settlements2 009160.8
Proportion residents in urban settlements, per cent82.980.300.4
Residents in the five largest urban settlements
Oslo1 082 57518 3401.7
Bergen269 5482 4310.9
Stavanger/Sandnes234 7573 0641.3
Trondheim196 9482 0881.1
Drammen122 95511 91910.7
Explanation of symbols

Selected tables and charts from this statistics

  • Population and area in urban settlements with more than 50 000 residents, by municipality
    Population and area in urban settlements with more than 50 000 residents, by municipality
    Urban settlementMunicipalityNumber of residentsArea of urban settlements (km²)
    QuantityShare (%)QuantityShare (%)
    OsloTotal1 082 575276.25
    Oslo705 64365.2129.9347.0
    Bærum128 51911.948.2417.5
    Asker71 3556.637.2513.5
    Lillestrøm61 4595.721.907.9
    Lørenskog46 4524.312.844.6
    Nordre Follo40 8763.814.855.4
    Rælingen14 8151.44.641.7
    Nittedal10 9091.04.901.8
    Lier2 5470.21.710.6
    BergenBergen269 54891.18
    Stavanger/SandnesTotal234 75780.20
    Stavanger135 51457.741.4851.7
    Sandnes65 96628.123.4229.2
    Sola23 0769.811.7814.7
    Randaberg10 2014.33.524.4
    TrondheimTrondheim - Tråante196 94859.29
    DrammenTotal122 95552.69
    Drammen94 53676.935.3167.0
    Lier13 76211.28.5516.2
    Øvre Eiker9 8848.06.4912.3
    Asker4 2253.42.073.9
    Fredrikstad/SarpsborgTotal120 33260.39
    Fredrikstad70 70058.835.7459.2
    Sarpsborg49 63241.224.6540.8
    Porsgrunn/SkienTotal95 76354.05
    Skien50 60752.826.6849.4
    Porsgrunn34 75436.321.0438.9
    Bamble10 40210.96.3311.7
    KristiansandKristiansand66 57625.12
    TønsbergTotal55 38726.31
    Tønsberg37 40867.515.9460.6
    Færder17 97932.510.3739.4
    ÅlesundTotal55 38628.88
    Ålesund46 31083.621.6875.1
    Sula9 07616.47.2024.9
    Explanation of symbols
  • Proportion of residents in densely and sparsely populated areas

  • Population in densely and sparsely populated areas. County
    Population in densely and sparsely populated areas. County
    Densely populated areasSparsely populated areasUnknownTotalShare in densely populated areas
    Viken (2020-2023)1 137 939153 0041 2981 292 24188.1
    Oslo705 9451 6031 489709 03799.6
    Innlandet224 436149 025167373 62860.1
    Vestfold og Telemark (2020-2023)356 18072 610311429 10183.0
    Agder252 83962 971241316 05180.0
    Rogaland436 88954 934527492 35088.7
    Vestland523 850121 799556646 20581.1
    Møre og Romsdal199 54768 577241268 36574.4
    Trøndelag - Trööndelage362 910115 068492478 47075.8
    Nordland - Nordlánnda173 96366 936185241 08472.2
    Troms og Finnmark - Romsa ja Finnmárku (2020-2023)180 06462 039349242 45274.3
    Explanation of symbols
  • New and discontinued urban settlements. 2023
    New and discontinued urban settlements. 2023
    Urban settlementPopulationArea (sq. Km)MunicipalityComment
    0162 Nylende2080.143004 FredrikstadNew urban settlement
    0509 Bjerkeskaug2040.073019 VestbyBack on the list. Last listed in 2020
    0524 Kjærnes3040.273021 ÅsNew urban settlement
    1122 Heradsbygd4360.903420 ElverumBack on the list. Last listed in 2021
    1163 Drevsjø2910.473425 EngerdalNew urban settlement
    1613 Øyer4770.743440 ØyerBack on the list. Last listed in 2021. Separated Gradrudmoen from the urban settlement
    1723 Vang (Valdres)2340.263454 VangNew urban settlement
    2035 Nymoen2660.253007 RingerikeBack on the list. Last listed in 2021
    3006 Jønnevall2010.143807 SkienNew urban settlement
    3642 Bykle2420.474222 BykleBack on the list. Last listed in 2020
    4562 Røysland5240.401114 BjerkreimNew urban settlement
    5185 Glesnes3290.444626 ØygardenBack on the list. Last listed in 2020
    5198 Vindenes6180.354626 ØygardenBack on the list. Last listed in 2015
    6033 Gjerde2240.311514 SandeBack on the list. Last listed in 2018
    6054 Dimna2530.161516 UlsteinBack on the list. Last listed in 2019
    6114 Geiranger2150.341525 StrandaNew urban settlement
    6523 Sandstad2150.335056 HitraBack on the list. Last listed in 1980
    7141 Bergsmo2130.425045 GrongBack on the list. Last listed in 2020
    7504 Saltstraumen3680.341804 BodøNew urban settlement
    7771 Røstlandet3310.621856 RøstBack on the list. Last listed in 2021
    8092 Skøelv3050.445419 SørreisaBack on the list. Last listed in 2021
    2626 Brunstad2100.403804 SandefjordDiscontinued urban settlement
    5031 Førde3630.324612 SveioDiscontinued urban settlement
    1645 Raufoss7 9187.123443 Vestre TotenDiscontinued urban settlement. Merged with Gjøvik
    2004 Konnerud10 4034.723005 DrammenDiscontinued urban settlement. Merged with Drammen
    0622 Leirsund1 4650.783030 LillestrømDiscontinued urban settlement. Merged with Oslo
    0013 Stikkaåsen2090.133003 SarpsborgDiscontinued urban settlement
    6049 Leikong3390.381515 Herøy (Møre og Romsdal)Discontinued urban settlement
    6371 Liabø2040.335055 HeimDiscontinued urban settlement
    7743 Ramsund3180.605412 Dielddanuorri - TjeldsundDiscontinued urban settlement
    7111 Sandvika2160.395042 LierneDiscontinued urban settlement
    2093 Geilolie5520.413044 HolDiscontinued urban settlement. Merged with Geilo
    0640 Hakadal8460.533031 NittedalDiscontinued urban settlement. Merged with Løstad
    5603 Hestnes4600.274644 LusterDiscontinued urban settlement. Merged with Hafslo
    5734 Bergsida2460.194651 StrynDiscontinued urban settlement
    6083 Sætrebakkane2360.141520 ØrstaDiscontinued urban settlement. Merged with Ørsta
    0587 Setskog2030.193026 Aurskog-HølandDiscontinued urban settlement
    6195 Innfjorden2600.281539 RaumaDiscontinued urban settlement
    Explanation of symbols

About the statistics

The statistics show population, area and population density in urban settlements. It also provides the number of inhabitants residing in densely and sparsely populated areas by municipality and county.

Urban settlement

A cluster of buildings shall be registered as an urban settlement if it is inhabited by at least 200 persons.

The distance between the buildings should normally not exceed 50 metres, but for some space-demanding building categories - such as apartment buildings, industrial buildings, offices / commercial buildings, schools, hospitals etc. - the distance can be increased to 200 metres.

Adjacent built-up and constructed areas, such as parks, sports facilities and industrial areas, should be part of the urban settlement.

Building clusters with at least 5 commercial buildings or 5 residential buildings are included up to a distance of 400 metres from the urban settlement core.

Urban settlements are geographical areas with dynamic boundaries. Thus the number of urban settlements and their boundaries will change over time, depending on construction activity and changes of resident population.

The delimitation of the urban settlements is independent of the administrative boundaries.

Classification of urban settlement

A standard classification of the urban settlements is:

200 - 1 999 residents
2 000 - 19 999 residents
20 000 - 99 999 residents
100 000 or more residents

In the publication Population and land area in urban settlements and from 1rst of January on the situation files, the following classification is used:

200-499 residents
500-999 residents
1 000-1 999 residents
2 000-19 999 residents
20 000-99 999 residents
100 000 or more residents

Rules for change of number and names of urban settlements
Where 2 or mor urban setttlements are merged, the new merged urban settlement is always given the number of the largest urban settlement. Where urban settlements of less than 10 000 residents are merged, only the name of the largest settlement is kept.

If a merged urban settlement overpass 10 000 residents, the name of the largest urban settlement is kept if the number of residents is more than twice the number of residents in the smallest urban settlement. Otherwise the names will be shared for the new urban settlement.

These rules apply from 1rst of January 2013 and onwards.

Name: Population and land area in urban settlements
Topic: Population

Not yet determined

Division for Population Statistics

Besides statistics of urban settlements the statistics give figures of residents in densely and sparsely populated areas by basic statistical unit and municipality.



The code for urban settlement and sparse population is stored on the files over Norwegian residents January 1st each year.

Urban settlements are regional delimitations that can describe the urban development in Norway. The dicotomy of sparsely and densely populated areas is useful in analysis describing social, environmental and demographic variations.

The term urban settlements is used in Statistics Norway since the Population Census in 1960. The original definition is, with a few modifications, used in all the censuses since 1960.

Since 1960 to 2001 population statistics for urban settlements has been elaborated in connection with the censuses each 10 years.

Since 1990 the statistics are elaborated per 1 January each year. A new method for automatic delimitation of the urban settlements has been used since 1999. Allthough the definition of urban settlements remains the same, the statistics will differ slightly due to the new method. Figures referring to new and old method should not be compared.

In 2013, Statistics Norway introduced a new method for defining urban settlement boundaries. The urban settlements statistics are still based on information from the Central Population Register and the Ground property register, and it is still the distance between buildings that determines what areas are defined as an urban settlement. But the new method gave a more accurate delimitation, where the outer boundary in most cases will follow the boundary of roads and built-up elements. The more precise delimitation was made possible by using Statistics Norway’s delimitation of land use map.

The statistics is mainly used by civil administration (ministries, directorates, county- and municipality administrations) as well as for research purposes. Population in urban settlements is used in many analysis as an important variable in social, environmental and demographic studies.

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.

The international recommendations and definitions are closely related to the Norwegian definition. The most important difference is that the distance between the buildings should not exceed 200 metres in the international definition, whereas the criterion is 50 metres in the Norwegian. In the nordic definition deviation from the 200 metre limit is allowed.

Statistics Norway also produce land use statistics for urban settlements.

Statistics Act § 10


The population is persons registered as residents in Norway. The observation unit is person.

The main data sources are the Central Population Register, the national register of Ground, Addresses and Buildings (Matrikkelen) and Statistics Norway’s delimitation of land use.

The statistic is estimated by counting the number of persons who belong to urban or rural settlement.


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

As mentioned there have been some small changes in the definition of urban settlements since 1960. During the period 1990 to 1998 the statistics have been elaborated on the basis of information from the municipalities own registration in the GAB-register. Since 1999 (expect of 2001 and 2010) the delimitation will be done by Statistics Norway using an automatic method (GIS). Data should not be compared unless the method is the same.

In 2013 the method was revised to give a more precise delimitation. The change involves a break in the time series. The area of urban settlements declined, and the number of inhabitants increased, leading to 16 percent higher population density.

The sources of error are mainly connected to the quality and completeness in the registers used. By merging the Central Population Register and the GAB register(Matrikkelen), each individual gets coordinates for their reisident. Thus, the key for the merge which is the numeric address, must be identical in the two registers.