Children1 January 2011

As from 1 January 2012 the statistics is published with Families and households.


About the statistics


Name and topic

Name: Children
Topic: Population

Responsible division

Division for Population Statistics

Definitions of the main concepts and variables


Age is age at the end of the year t-1.


A child in children statistics is defined as a person 0-17 years of age that is registered as living with the mother and/or father. Persons 0-17 years of age who are registered as having left the family home, who have married, or who have their own children, are not included. A child is either biological or adopted. A foster child is not considered a child.


A family consists of persons resident in the same dwelling and related to each other as spouse, registered partner, cohabitant, and/or parent and child (regardless of the child's age). At most, a family may consist of two subsequent generations and one couple only. This means that persons that are married or cohabiting and/or living with their own children, do not belong to their parents' family. When persons that have previously been married are living with their parents, this is regarded as two families. Single persons are also considered a family, whereby all persons are part of a family, either together with others or on their own.


Siblings comprises biological, half, and step siblings. Only siblings living at the same address and in the same household as the child itself are included. "Children without siblings" means children registered as living alone with their parents. This can mean only children in the ordinary sense of the term or children with siblings who have moved out of the home.

Biological siblings have the same father and mother, half siblings have the same mother but not the same father or vice versa. Stepsiblings have no parent in common, but they have parents that are living together as a married or cohabitating couple.

Type of sibling

Type of sibling describes the family relationship to siblings who also live at home. The following main categories are used: Biological siblings, half siblings and stepsiblings. In addition combinations of the main categories are used.

Standard classifications


The definition of children corresponds with &“Standard for begrep og kjennemerker knyttet til familie- og husholdningsstatistikken´´ (the official standard for families and households). The definition is broadly consistent with international recommendations.

Standard classification of family type 2006

Single persons are also considered a family, whereby all persons are part of a family, either together with others or on their own. A family that consists of two or more persons is known as a family nucleus. The Norwegian standard classification of families deviates somewhat from international recommendations. Internationally it is not recommended to include persons living alone in family statistics.

Families with children are families where at least one child is registered as resident together with the parent(s). Families without children are either de facto childless, or families where the children have moved out of the family home (registered migration).

The number of couples with/without children will vary depending on whether an age limit is set for children living at home. Based on an age limit of 18 years for children, couples with children over the age of 18 years will be classified as couples without children 0 - 17 years.

Administrative information

Regional level

National level and county level. Municipal level and urban districts can be made to order.

Frequency and timeliness


International reporting

Not relevant


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

Special tabulations

In addition to the tables that are published, it is possible to order more detailed tables by contacting Statistics Norway on telephone +47 62 88 54 00, Division for Population Statistics or oppdragbefolkning@ssb.no. The price will depend on the size of the order.


Background and purpose

Children statistics describe children's living arrangements, who they live with; in other words family relationships are seen from the child's point of view. Children statistics can provide a more nuanced picture of the current family pattern than family statistics can.

Children statistics were published for the first time in 1989. Prior to 1989 children were generally given statistical attention through adults, and primarily so through the mother. Through children statistics children became a separate analytical unit.

The children statistics are based on the same computer files used in family and household statistics.

As from 2005 the family and household statistics are based on more comprehensive data and new methods of data processing. See chapter 3. Because the new family statistics also includes cohabitants without common children the children statistics before and after the change of methods are not directly comparable. The new children statistics will show more children that live with two adults in the family, and not only a single mother or a single father. From this follows that the new children statistics also will show more children living with stepsiblings and fewer children without siblings.

Users and applications

The main users are the ministries and research institutions within the areas of demography and living conditions, and the media.

Coherence with other statistics

Children statistics are thematically related to family statistics. Whereas the child is the unit in children statistics, families are the units in family statistics

The Population and Housing Census 2001 also publish figures with the child as the statistical unit. These figures are directly comparable with the new child statistics since they also comprise cohabitants without common children.

Legal authority

Statistics Act of 16 June 1989 no. 54, Sections 2-1, 2-2, 3-2 (Questionnaires/registers).

EEA reference

Not relevant



Children statistics cover persons 0-17 years of age registered as resident in Norway per 1 January, with a few exceptions: Children statistics include only children 0-17 years of age living at home. Persons aged 0-17 years who have married, who have their own children, or who are registered as having left the family home, are excluded.

The statistics only include parents and siblings registered at the same address as the child. An individual can only be registered at one single address in the CPR. This means that possible siblings or parents that the child is living with part of the time at other addresses are not included.

Data sources and sampling

The basis for children statistics is population register data from the Central Population Register. The figures from 1995 and later are based on the Central Population Register at the Directorate of Taxes, while the figures for 1968-1994 are from its forerunner. As from the change in methods in 2005 the statistics are also based on information from The Cadastre and The Central Coordinating Register of Legal Entities (business register).

Updating of the Central Population Register is done partly at the local population registry offices, which are connected to the central database via computer terminals, and partly centrally by the Directorate of Taxes. The statistics on demographic changes are based on electronic copies to Statistics Norway of all notifications that update the register. The reports also update a special Statistics Norway population database which is used to compile statistics on the composition of the population.

Persons are grouped into families in the CPR through the allocation of family numbers. The family number is maintained by reports on marriages, divorces, deaths, migrations etc. Families in the CPR comprise married couples with or without children, lone parents with children and persons living alone. Only children who are registered on the same address as their parent(s) are counted as family members.

In order to produce figures for cohabiting couples and two or more-family households, and hereby all types of families and households, Statistics Norway processes information from the CPR. In addition some information from The Cadaster and the business register are used in this process. Data from the same registers are used to identify persons not living in private households (living in institutions, of no fixed abode)

Data on basic statistical units are taken from The Cadastre.

Not relevant

Collection of data, editing and estimations

Reports (electronic copies) have been transferred daily from the CPR to Statistics Norway since January 1998, as opposed to previous monthly reports. Reports from The Central Coordinating Register of Legal Entities are also electronically transferred daily to the Business Register of Statistics Norway. Statistics Norway downloads updates from The Cadastre once a month.

In order to expand the statistics to comprise all cohabiting couples and also multi family-households, it was necessary to develop a comprehensive system for data processing, control and revision. This was essential done to be able to decide which persons that constituted couples, families and households in these particular cases. Especially errors and shortcomings in address information at the dwelling level made this necessary. The comprehensive system of data processing combines information on families and households from the questionnaire part of the Population and Housing Census 2001 with information from the registers mentioned in chapter 3.2 per 1 January.

The system for data processing, control, and revision mentioned above classifies two persons as a cohabiting couple if they are living in the same household, are the only adults living in the household, are of opposite sex, are not related, are 18 years or older and the age difference between them are less than 16 years.

The child is the unit of analysis. The statistics is based on a full count of all persons, families, and households in Norway. From this point of view the estimation should be fairly simple. But due to shortcomings in the address information at the dwelling level, particularly in Oslo, we have to use a statistical method to adjust the results for persons living in multi-dwelling buildings. Figures are adjusted only for living in multi-dwelling buildings. Figures for living, couples, families and households are adjusted in 6 different types of households, 7 age groups and sex (126 groups per region).


In the child statistics figures are mainly published on national level and for counties. Tabulations for municipalities can be provided on request. In smaller municipalities this may reveal low values for some types of families and could possibly lead to the identification of individuals. In such cases we will suppress the figures. This is done by using the standard symbol “:” (“Not for publication”) in the tabulations.

Due to quality problems (see 3.5 and 3.6) small figures in tables are not exact values, but rather inaccurate estimates.

Comparability over time and space

From 1 January 1989 the age limit for being classified as a child was lowered from 20 to 18 years. To facilitate comparisons, statistics for 1 January 1989 have been provided with an age limit on 20 year also.

Cohabitant couples (with at least one common child) were incorporated for the first time per 1 January 1993. Figures for 1987, 1989 and 1991 were produced at the same time.

Parents in registered partnerships have been included since 1 January 1995, for the years 1995 and 1997 primarily in the category married parents and since 1999 in the category mother/stepfather or father/stepmother. As the numbers are small, this does not make much impact.

Effective from 1 January 2001 the definition of cohabiting couples with common children and living on the same address has been changed: Legally separated couples with common children and living on the same address have previously been registered as cohabiting couples with common children, due to the statistical definition of cohabitant couples (that is, common child(ren) and identical address). From 1 January 2001 these separated couples are excluded from this category and included in the group "Other type of family" instead.

Per 1 January 2005 relatively large changes in the annual family statistics were put into effect. The introduction of a unique address for all dwellings made it possible to produce statistics for cohabitant couples regardless of common children or not. Because of this the figures in the new child statistics are not directly comparable with previously published statistics on children. The new child statistics will show more children that live with two adults in the family, and not only a single mother or a single father. From this follows that the new child statistics also will show more children living with step siblings and fewer children without siblings.

As from January 2005 separated parents which still have the same legal address are considered a couple in the family statistics. Since separated couples in a legal sense is still married to each other, they are classified as a married couple in the family and child statistics. Divorced couples still living in the same household are usually classified as a cohabiting couple.

Accuracy and reliability

Sources of error and uncertainty

The main source for the statistics is the Central Population Register. Some errors made during the collecting and processing of the data are unavoidable; include errors in coding, revision and data processing. Extensive efforts have been made to minimize these errors, and Statistics Norway regards these types of errors to be relatively insignificant.

The statistics is based on a total count of the whole population. For some persons the residential address is incomplete as the dwelling number is not included. This may be regarded as item non-response, but are here described in 5.4.

The main quality problem is the incomplete registration of dwelling numbers for persons living in multi-dwelling houses. These persons are said not to have a unique address and this create problems in the formation of families and households. Per 1 January 2005 7 per cent of the population did not have a unique address, and the corresponding figure for Oslo was 22 per cent.

To improve the quality, rather comprehensive editing of the input data have been conducted (see 3.5). To further improve the regional figures, especially for Oslo, the data have been adjusted at a macro level (see 3.6). No specific calculations of accuracy have been done, but the figures are assessed to be somewhat less accurate than for instance the corresponding figures from the 2001 Census (where census forms were used to collect additional information).