Population;Immigration and immigrants;Population



About the statistics


Name and topic

Name: Adoptions
Topic: Population

Responsible division

Division for Population Statistics

Definitions of the main concepts and variables

Adoption: Pursuant to Norwegian law, the person(s) adopting a child get the parental authority of the child, become(s) its guardian and have provider responsibility. The adopted child gets the same legal rights as the adoptive parents’ biological children, if any.

Adoption type: There are four types of adoption: step child adoptions, intercountry adoptions, foster child adoptions and anonymous adoptions. In the case of step child adoptions, the person adopting the child is the spouse or registered partner of the child’s biological father or mother.

Age: The age of the child when adoption is granted.

Standard classifications

Classification of country and citizenship

Administrative information

Regional level

National and counties

Frequency and timeliness


International reporting

Not relevant


Files on individual level containing data that are processed and stored in the long term


Background and purpose

The statistics shall show changes that take place in the population and their effect on the composition of the population. The first statistics on adoptions produced by Statistics Norway covered 1963, but contained figures back to 1960. Since then statistics have been produced annually. The basis for the statistics from 1963 to 1965 inclusive was reports on granted adoptions that the county governors were obliged to send to the Ministry of Justice. As of 1966, the statistics were based on reports submitted to the population register. The county governors were responsible for sending these reports in the beginning, but this responsibility was transferred to the Norwegian Adoption Authority in 1987, and in 1998 to the Norwegian Youth and Adoption Authority and in 2004 to the Norwegian Directorate of Children, Youth and Family Affairs.

The adoptions are not archived as reports in the population register, and Statistics Norway therefore cannot use the Central Population Register (DSF) as a source for the adoption statistics. As a consequence, the adoption reports prior to 2006 have been submitted by the population register to Statistics Norway for statistical purposes. As of 2006, Statistics Norway received a full copy of the central adoption register once every year in order to produce the annual statistics. The register contains data back to 1917.

As of 1997, the statistics on adoptions have been produced by the Division for Population Statistics. Prior to 1997, the Division for Health Statistics was responsible for the production and publishing

Users and applications

The statistics have a wide spectrum of users and applications, including institutes involved in researching demographics and living conditions, public administration, the mass media and private persons.

Equal treatment of users

Not relevant

Coherence with other statistics

Not relevant

Legal authority

Statistics Act, §§ 2-1, 2-2, 3-2

EEA reference

Not relevant



The adoption statistics for one year (year n) include all domestic and intercountry adoptions from Thailand, the Philippines, India and Korea which are granted in year n. In addition, intercountry adoptions carried out abroad in year n are included.

For intercountry adoptions in general: When the licence date is later than the adoption date for adoptions carried out abroad, the licence date is used in the statistics.

Data sources and sampling

The data source is the central register of adoptions in the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs.

Collection of data, editing and estimations

In addition to the control carried out by the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs, statistical checks are carried out in Statistics Norway.

Seasonal adjustment

Not relevant


If a figure in a table consists of less than three units, and disclosing these units can lead to identification of individuals, there are no figures given.

Comparability over time and space

The comparability is generally good. See also section 3.1 on the scope of the statistics.

Table 1 was revised in 2006 in order to make it more comparable over time.

Accuracy and reliability

Sources of error and uncertainty

Some errors made during the collection and processing of the data are unavoidable and include coding, revision and data processing errors etc. Extensive efforts have been made to minimise these errors, and we regard these types of errors as relatively insignificant.


Not relevant