The proportion of older people among immigrants has remained stable at around 11 percent over the past 20 years, but there has been a significant increase in absolute numbers, in line with the increasing immigration. Older immigrants have background from a total of 197 countries and autonomous regions. The tree largest groups are from Denmark, Sweden and Poland. Only 23 percent of all older immigrants are refugees. Immigrant seniors more often live in larger households, consisting of five people or more, than other groups. 14 per cent of immigrants aged 60 years or older live in a two or more- family households, compared with 5 percent in the rest of the population. Like immigrants in general, most immigrant seniors live more centrally than the total older population, in Viken and Oslo.
Elderly immigrants have lower homeownership rates than other elderly persons. However, the difference decreases with age. The rates are especially low among elderly immigrants living alone. The longer immigrants have been in Norway, the higher the ownership shares. The increase is particularly large for refugees. Most elderly immigrants have long periods of residence. Then the ownership rates are relatively high, regardless of the reason for immigration or region of origin. 7 percent of elderly immigrants live in a crowded dwelling, while only 1 percent of other elderly people do. It is mainly immigrants in the early 60s who living in crowded dwellings. The proportion is highest among newly arrived immigrants from EU countries in Central Europe and from Africa, Asia etc.
Among older immigrants in Norway, those from the Nordic countries and other Western European countries with a long time of residence, have the highest income. We find the lowest income level among older refugees, often with a shorter time of residence. Many immigrants, age 60 years and older, are overrepresented in the bottom part of the income distribution – this is especially true for refugees, but also for some groups of labour immigrants. In the age group 60-66 years, we find a higher proportion receiving disability benefits among both women and men with immigrant background – compared to the rest of the population. Among old-age pensioners, many immigrants receive the minimum pension level from the National Insurance Scheme.
Mortality among 60-79 years old immigrants is lower compared to other elderly in the same age group. This is especially noticeable for the immigrants with a shorter resident period, and the difference in mortality is reduces with time lived in Norway. There are also differences amongst elderly immigrants as of country background, but this is also to some degree correlated with residency time, but differences in mortality is also observed between the different reasons for immigration, with the highest mortality amongst refugees.
Our review confirms the general impression from previous studies that elderly immigrants’ overall consumption of different forms of healthcare services is lower than that of the general population but varies between different immigrant groups. Those with the longest stay in Norway used the service more frequently. When it comes to emergency care, our analysis indicates that elderly immigrants with short period of residence in Norway use this service relatively widely. There is a lower proportion of users of community- based healthcare services among older immigrants compared with other elderly people in the rest of the population, both at the home care- and institutional level.
Note: The term "elderly" is interchangeable with "older"; both mean persons age 60 and older.