Key figures for the population
Information about population size, composition and development is an important basis for policy, planning and decision-making in various areas of society. The age distribution, for example, has an impact on the demand for education and study places, the share of the working population and the need for health and social services. The regional distribution of the population also provides an important framework for counties and municipalities.
Population size and composition change in two ways: when people are born and die, and when they move to and out of the country. When the number of births is higher than the number of deaths, there is an excess of births, and when more people move to the country than leave, we have what is known as net immigration (Net immigration = immigration minus emigration). These factors combined determine the population growth.
|Number||Change in % previous year||Period|
|Births||11 843||-2.5||4th quarter 2020|
|Deaths||10 368||-0.4||4th quarter 2020|
|Immigration||10 194||-28.2||4th quarter 2020|
|Emigration||5 179||-5.3||4th quarter 2020|
|Norwegian naturalisation||13 201||28.6||2019|
|Unit||Value||Previous year||Five years ago||Ten years ago||Period|
|Total fertility rate, women||Number of children||1.48||1.53||1.73||1.95||2020|
|Total fertility rate, men||Number of children||1.34||1.40||1.56||1.75||2020|
|Life expectancy, both sexes||Year||83.2||83.0||82.3||81.0||2020|
|Life expectancy, men||Year||81.5||81.2||80.4||78.9||2020|
|Life expectancy, women||Year||84.9||84.7||84.2||83.2||2020|
|Infant mortality rate, deaths under age 1||Per 1 000 living births||1.7||2.1||2.4||2.8||2020|
|Share aged 67 and over, as percentage of population||Per cent||15.8||15.4||14.3||12.9||2021|
|Share aged 18 and under, as percentage of population||Per cent||20.6||20.8||21.8||22.6||2021|
|Population growth, as percentage of population at start of year||Per cent||0.4||0.7||1.1||1.3||2020|
Population changes. Population growth, excess of births and net immigration. 1951-2015
|Population growth||Excess of births||Net immigration|
Population changes. Births, deaths, immigration and emigration. 1951-2016
- Low fertility rate...
The post-war baby boom lasted until the mid-1960s, and was followed by a decline that bottomed out at the start of the 1980s. Fertility subsequently increased again, stabilising at around 1.9 children per woman. This has now fallen to 1.7 children per woman. Excluding migration, the total fertility rate in any country needs to be around 2.1 in order to prevent the population from declining in the long term.
- … and falling mortality rate
The mortality rate saw a general decline throughout the last century, with the exception of the period from 1950 to 1970. During this period, the mortality rate for men increased in most age groups, mainly due to a large number of deaths related to cardiovascular disease. The falling mortality rate is reflected in the increase in life expectancy: a boy born today can expect to live 80.4 years, and a girl 84.2 years. The gender gap in life expectancy continued to increase until the 1980s, when the difference was almost seven years, but more recently this fallen to four years.
- More are living alone…
Following World War II, nuclear families were the dominant form of living. The marriage rate was high and the share of one-person households fell slightly. The marriage rate then started to fall at start of the 1970s, while the number of divorces increased. The share of one-person households has now doubled: 38 per cent of households consist of people living alone, and this makes up almost one in five persons. In the population as a whole, approximately equal shares of men and women live alone. However, while single women are in the majority in the elderly population, men are in the majority among the younger age groups. One-person households are most common in city centres and rural areas.
- … and more have live-in partners
The decline in the number of marriages in recent years is not only due to the increase in divorces and the number of people living alone; couples are also choosing to live together without getting married. Unmarried cohabitants were introduced to the statistics at the end of the 1970s, but it is only in the last few decades that this form of living has become more popular. Cohabiting couples made up 28 per cent of all couples in 2015, up from 10 per cent in 1990. While cohabiting couples were previously unlikely to have children, the majority of them do have children nowadays. Young people under the age of 30 are now more likely to cohabit than get married.
- High population growth…
The population of Norway passed the 5 million mark in 2012, which is an increase of over 1.7 million since 1950. Immediately following World War II, the annual population growth was almost 1 per cent, mainly as a result of the high number of births. This growth sank to a third of a per cent in the 1980s, but has since risen to over 1 per cent. Today, the net immigration has a greater bearing on the population growth than the excess of births.
- ...also in the coming years
The result of the population projections depends on which assumptions are used. The main alternative, which is a prognosis based on medium fertility, life expectancy and net migration, shows continued growth for the remainder of this century. The population will surpass 6 million in around 2031, and 7 million by just before 2060 according to the medium alternative. A significant part of future growth is likely to be due to net immigration. If immigration, fertility and life expectancy are all low, the population will not pass the 6 million mark, and from 2060 the population of Norway will steadily fall. In the scenario with high fertility, life expectancy and immigration, the population could approach 9 million around 2060.
- More immigrants
Immigrants (defined as a person born outside Norway to foreign-born parents, and registered as resident in Norway in the National Population Register. Only the group of immigrants resident in Norway is included in our figures unless otherwise specified. The group of Norwegian-born with immigrant parents is not classified as immigrants.) and Norwegian-born with immigrant parents (persons born in Norway to two foreign-born parents and four foreign-born grandparents) made up 16,3 per cent of the population in Norway as of 1 January 2016, with a total of 848 200 persons. These two groups consist of persons with backgrounds from 223 different countries and autonomous regions. The number of immigrants and Norwegian-born with immigrant parents increased by 43 200 in 2015, which is the lowest percentage growth since 2006. At the start of 2016, there were 698 500 immigrants and 149 700 Norwegian-born with immigrant parents in Norway.
- Aging population on the way
Today, just over one in nine people in Norway are aged 70 years or over. This percentage is set to increase. In the medium alternative, roughly every fifth person in Norway will be aged 70 or over by 2060. The share of elderly will see a particular increase when the post-war baby boomers are elderly. Although Norway is aging, the aging population in Norway will be far smaller than in many other countries. This is because Norway has had a less negative fertility development and relatively high immigration compared with other countries in Europe and the west in general.
- Population pyramid:
The population pyramid shows the composition of the Norwegian population during the period 1846-2040.
See the Norwegian population pyramid visualisation .